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ERIC Number: EJ1164769
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Fourth and Fifth Grade Students Learn about Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy through Inquiry
Fortner, Sarah K.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v57 n2 p121-127 Mar 2009
A classroom of eighteen fourth and fifth graders in the Columbus, Ohio Public School system successfully evaluated how people obtain fossil fuels, how they are limited in nature, and how they can develop renewable energy solutions. Students modeled oil-drilling using: chocolate syrup, rice cereal, a baster, and a clear container. Chocolate oil became more difficult to pump as oil supplies diminished. While pumping, chocolate oil spills contaminated the drill hole and students excavated the polluted substrate. Students next learned more about oil spills by conducting their own clean-ups of vegetable oil in mini tap water oceans. Students learned that "solving" the problem of the oil spill created new problems, including uninhabitable soapy oceans. This mimicked the failure of current technology to easily remediate oil spills. Finally to cultivate a better understanding of renewable energy, students built and tested solar ovens and discussed their benefits and limitations. After completing these activities, students showed a significant average improvement from their pretest to posttest understanding of renewable and nonrenewable resources. In addition, students were interested and excited to act on what they had learned.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A