Paving the Way
Growing Energy

Educators: Subject areas include high school science and language arts.


1. Read the background essays and discussion questions for the episodes Paving the Way and Growing Energy. Watch the episodes and discuss the post-viewing questions.

2. Research alternative fuels for automobiles from the list below. Based on your research, choose a source you think is the most environmentally friendly and cost-efficient. Be sure to research different perspectives and opinions when making your decision, and contact experts in the field. A helpful place to start is

. Ethanol
. Natural Gas
. Bio-Diesel
. Electricity
. Propane
. Hydrogen
. Methanol

3. What are the pros and cons of using your choice of fuel? Points to consider include:

. Environmental effects: short-term versus long-term. Does it emit greenhouse gases? Pollutants?

. Accessibility: How much is there? Is it easy to get? Is it renewable?

. Timeline for starting production: Is it available now? When will it be?

. Does the fuel require manufacturing of particular automobiles?

4. Create a five-minute presentation advocating your choice of an alternative fuel source. Be sure to reference resources and data and have a question and answer session. Visual aids are fantastic.

5. Share your work! Invite additional peers and teachers into the classroom during your presentation. Videotape your presentation and post it on and/or



Fuel Economy

National Resources Defense Council - Energy



Language Arts
Standard 1.9: Writes persuasive compositions that address problems/solutions or causes/effects (e.g., articulates a position through a thesis statement; anticipates and addresses counter arguments; backs up assertions using specific rhetorical devices [appeals to logic, appeals to emotion, uses personal anecdotes]; develops arguments using a variety of methods such as examples and details, commonly accepted beliefs, expert opinion, cause-and-effect reasoning, comparison-contrast reasoning)

Standard 4.2: Uses a variety of print and electronic sources to gather information for research topics (e.g., news sources such as magazines, radio, television, newspapers; government publications; microfiche; telephone information services; databases; field studies; speeches; technical documents; periodicals; Internet)

Standard 8.5: Makes formal presentations to the class (e.g., includes definitions for clarity; supports main ideas using anecdotes, examples, statistics, analogies, and other evidence; uses visual aids or technology, such as transparencies, slides, electronic media; cites information sources)

Standard 8.8: Responds to questions and feedback about own presentations (e.g., clarifies and defends ideas, expands on a topic, uses logical arguments, modifies organization, evaluates effectiveness, sets goals for future presentations)


Engineering Education
Standard 5.6: Knows renewable and non-renewable sources of energy (e.g., fossil, wind, nuclear, solar)

Standard 5.8: Understands how the use of domestic and commercial power

Standard 16.3: Understands the role of research and development in the production of new or improved products, processes, and materials


Standard 3.2: Knows ways in which social and economic forces influence which technologies will be developed and used (e.g., cultural and personal values, consumer acceptance, patent laws, availability of risk capital, the federal budget, local and national regulations, media attention, economic competition, tax incentives)

Standard 3.3: Knows that alternatives, risks, costs, and benefits must be considered when deciding on proposals to introduce new technologies or to curtail existing ones (e.g., Are there alternative ways to achieve the same ends? Who benefits and who suffers? What are the financial and social costs and who bears them? How serious are the risks and who is in jeopardy? What resources will be needed and where will they come from?)

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