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Biofuels: An Alternative to Fossil Fuel

The most perplexing international problem concerning the fate of our planet is the issue of global warming. There are a number of complex factors governing the resolution of this extremely important environmental challenge. The decrease in world-wide fossil fuel reserves coupled with an increase in carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of hydrocarbons makes it imperative that alternative energy resources be developed and utilized. This curriculum unit is designed for a traditional high school biology class and will focus on the feasibility of using various plants as a replacement for fossil fuel. The proposed unit will cover an examination of renewable versus non-renewable resources, factors affecting global warming, and the chemistry behind the combustion of fuel. It is envisioned that this unit will coincide with the implementation of unit ten: “Ecology”, of the School District of Philadelphia’s standardized curriculum for biology as outlined in the Planning and Scheduling Timeline for Science 2009-2010: Biology (1). There are a number of behavioral objectives embedded within this unit. Students will examine the interaction between the biotic and abiotic components within an ecosystem, analyze the effects of abiotic factors on the environment, and evaluate of the consequences of interrupting natural cycles. As designed, this curriculum unit could very easily be adapted to any environmental science, chemistry, and/or physical science class.

Stuart Surrey
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