Lesson Plan Industry Sector

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Richard Rodman

Introduction to Alternative Fuels (updated) by Richard Rodman

Part of Unit: Green Concepts

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

This lesson serves as an introduction to the alternative fuels program. Students will learn about a variety of alternative fuels, the infrastructure supporting these fuels, pros and cons associated with alternative fuels, and safety when working with or around them. Example of fuels discussed include; compressed natural gas, electric, fuel ethanol, fuel methanol, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and nuclear energy. May be taken a total of two times. 18 hours lecture."

Lesson Time

2 Hours


California's 2008 CTE Standards

California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify various alternative fuel types and the efficiency of each.
  • Evaluate the viability of various alternative fuels based on demographic information and make appropriate recommendations to the user.
  • Identify and describe safety concerns associated with various alternative fuels.
  • Use Internet-based resources to search for and find alternative fuel filling stations.
  • Identify and perform the proper method to refuel an alternative fuel vehicle.
  • Identify state and federal government regulations, incentives and infrastructure for the use of alternative fuels.

Activities in this Lesson

  • The War in Iraq, global-warming, sustainability, pollution control.  When I say these things, what do you think about? What if you could change your world, or those individuals who are in your area of influence, so that twenty-years from now the environment is as good or better than you enjoyed growing up? How would that make you feel?

    Show the picture, "LA Smog" during the next taking point.

    Tell the story of my growing-up and "brownout" days.

    When I was a young person growing up in Southern California, though I lived in a community near the beach, several times through the year we would experience what were called "brown-out days." Brown-out days were days that required all students in the school to take their recess in non-physical ways. We would go to the gymnasium and play cards, or a board game, watch a movie, or some other non-physical activity. The government had determined that the air quality was so bad that it was unhealthy for children. My wife grew up in the foothills of Los Angeles, her brother had a respiratory health problem, and her family eventually left that community and moved where the air quality was better. Imagine air quality that is so unhealthy that government says, children cannot go out and play at recess.

    Resources and Materials

  • NOTE: This next portion of the course is important for effective communication and connecting with the students. In this portion of the course, you are seeking to understand the reason(s) the students enrolled in the course. Directed instruction will work most effectively when you meet the needs/desires of the majority of the student population. Your goal as the teacher in this portion is to discover WHY these students have enrolled in your class.

    Begin lesson segment:

    Most individuals have opinions about motivations for Alternative Fuels. Seek to understand the reason(s) the students have enrolled in your class. Do this by leading an interactive discussion about these key elements; do not limit the discussion to these, but use them as a springboard to launch the discussion.

    1. Political views of the “wars for oil”; show the political cartoon of hybrid here

    2. Global-warming; go to www.fueleconomy.gov and discuss carbon footprint

    3. Sustainability; all alternative fuels have two common components; cleaner (less emissions) than gasoline AND renewable sources

    IMPORTANT NOTE: you as the teacher would be well-served to pay close attention to the above discussion; there are many different reasons why individuals are interested in this emerging field; presenting material that aligns best with student interests will most likely provide enduring interest in the topic (make your class fun and engaging).

    Following the introduction/information-seeking discussion, hand out Chapter 35 of Automotive Technology, A Systems Approach, by Jack Erjavec (Delmar/Cengage Learning, 2010). Inform the students this will be the reference material for the next 4-hours of the course (in the Intro to Alt Fuels class that I teach, this is two, 2-hour lecture sections).

    Additionally, the review questions at the end of the chapter will serve as the homework assignment. Students who wish to receive additional knowledge and extra-credit may complete the "ASE-Style Review Questions" in addition to the "Review Questions," found at the end of the Chapter 35 handout.


    Resources and Materials

    • political cartoon of hybrid [ Download ] political cartoon of hybrid for first talking point
    • www.fueleconomy.gov and discuss carbon footprint [ Download ] Carbon Footprint from www.fueleconomy.gov for second talking point
    • Chapter 35 Hand-Out [ Download ] Week 1 (first 4-hours of course) Written Reference Material
  • Students will use this handout as the foundation of the first 4 hours of the course. In addition, the material will be used to answer the review questions at the end of the chapter. Since there are two sets of review questions, I suggest making one set a requirement and the second set extra credit.

    Resources and Materials

    • Review Questions from Chapter 35 Handout [ Download ] Review Questions from Chapter 35 Handout


Assessment Types:
Review Questions