Transformations in Matter and Energy Carbon TIME is an NSF-funded partnership led by Michigan State University
Human Energy Systems | Activity 4.2
Target Student Performance
Students identify carbon pools in Earth systems and investigate the fluxes associated with human use of one pool: fossil fuels.
- 4.2 Carbon Pools and Fossil Fuels PPT
- 4.2 Carbon Pools and Fossil Fuels Reading (1 per student)
- Time-lapse history of CO2 Emissions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAhZ1fA1AJs
- Learning Tracking Tool for Human Energy Systems (1 per student)
- Assessing the Learning Tracking Tool for Human Energy Systems
- Four Questions Poster and/or Handout
- Questions, Connections, Questions Student Reading Strategy
Print enough copies of the 4.2 Carbon Pools and Fossil Fuels Reading and Four Questions Handout so that each student has one copy of each. Prepare a computer and projector for the 4.2 Carbon Pools and Fossil Fuels PPT. You may want to print and post the Four Questions Large Poster for the rest of the unit.
Students will not have complete accounts of where the energy in fossil fuels comes from and where it goes after fossil fuels are burned. Check during this activity to see where their ideas are as you begin to discuss fossil fuels.
- You may want to revisit the Powers of Ten 11 x 17 Poster (from the Systems and Scale unit) to refresh students’ memories about what we mean by “scale” when we zoom into fossil fuels.
- Students may have questions at this point about the difference in the way we define “organic” in the Carbon TIME units, and other meanings of this word. Remind them that in the Carbon TIME units, “organic” things contain C-C and C-H bonds. “Inorganic” things do not contain C-C and C-H bonds. Fossil fuels contain C-C and C-H bonds that make them a rich source of energy for people—this means that fossil fuels are organic, even though they are not living. If students raise these questions, point out that our definition of organic is also not the same as the definition they might see in a grocery store to refer to food produced without using pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, or growth hormones.