HES Activity 4.2 Assessment


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.