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Linking to Current Events: Arkansas’ Oil Spill

by Daniel Schafer on Thursday, April 04, 2013 10:44 AM
You may have read reports in recent days of an Exxon Mobile Corp pipeline that leaked an estimated five thousand barrels of crude oil on its way south from Canada last Friday. The leak happened in Arkansas, and cleanup is ongoing.

Events such as this one provide context for conversations about energy in general and our use of oil specifically, not to mention conversations about trade and economics. For example, where do you think most America’s oil comes from? You may be surprised by the answer.

According to the Energy Information Administration most of our oil is domestic, but beyond that Latin America and Canada are the United States’ two largest sources.

Unfortunately oil spills and other environmental disasters are likely to continue. In light of an event such as the one that occurred last week, I’d like to direct you to some valuable Facing the Future lessons that can help students understand the state of energy use, politics, and economics, as well as the unique challenges associated with meeting the population’s energy needs.

First, take a look at this page in the Take Action! section of the FTF website. Here you’ll find background information on energy (under the “Learn more” tab), opportunities to put learning in to action (under the “How to Help” tab), and lessons you can use in class to teach students about these topics (under “Additional Resources”).

It is under the “Additional Resources” tab that you’ll find lessons that are free to download from our website, and located in our for purchase lesson book Engaging Students Through Global Issues.

1. "Energy Explorations" is from our middle school science lesson plan text Understanding Sustainability. It asks students to learn about and debate different fuel sources that are currently options for energy.

2. "Energy Policies for a Cool Future," a free download from our middle school text, Climate Change, asks students to think about policy decisions that could address current and potential issues associated with energy.

3. "Toil for Oil," from Engaging Students Through Global Issues, simulates the process of extracting nonrenewable resources from the earth over a period of years, highlighting the challenges associated with this model. Students are then asked to come up with alternatives that will be less problematic.

4. "Fueling the Future," also from Engaging Students Through Global Issues, asks students to compare energy use between countries, and write a resolution to solve the unique problems encountered by each country’s energy use model.

5. "Deep Space 3000," from Engaging Students Through Global Issues, asks students to create a closed energy system that must operate away from Earth for a number of years.

Take a look at the free lessons linked above, and consider using Engaging Students through Global Issues to teach about energy and fossil fuels. Understanding the complex nature of energy use is an essential skill for students, and is a key component of anyone’s global awareness.
 
What kind of lessons do you teach related to energy? What other topics related to energy would you like to see highlighted in lessons like the ones discussed above?

Until next time,
Daniel

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1 comment(s) so far...

Thomas Polley 4/5/2013

And another oil spill was announced today! This really is an important topic keep continue discussing. People need to realize that just because oil spills are becoming more and more common that they are not normal and they are not acceptable.

 
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