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How to Teach A Long Term Lesson Plan on Post- Peak Oil Communities.

Updated on July 27, 2011

What is peak oil? To put it simply, it's when the extraction of this substance from the ground reaches maximum levels before making a permanent decline. In other words, there's nowhere else to go but down. There are is disagreement as to when peak oil was, or will be reached. Some believe that peak oil was reached back in 2006, others believe we that we won't reach peak oil until 2018. However one might feel how soon we will reach peak oil there is one thing that is certain, and that is oil is a finite substance like every other natural resource on this planet. We will run out of oil one day. So, it's a good idea to prepare for a possible post peak oil future. How can we start preparing for this future? One way is to start with the children who go to school five days a week(or six days in some countries). So, this is a long-term lesson plan that I created on post-peak oil communities. Let me be clear that this is a loosely written plan, so it is not broken down in a conventional lesson format. I wrote this plan so that you, the teacher, could adapt it to your needs. Now, even though this lesson is written with Junior High and High School students in mind, please feel free to adapt it for Elementary School students if you wish. The only thing that I ask is that you do your research thoroughly, so that your command of the topic is strong enough to teach it to your students at their level.

INTRODUCTION: Pose questions to your students about what fuel has made possible for our modern world. As students answer your questions, write them down on a large writing tablet. Label these answers as Peak Oil World. Put the sheet aside.

Next, pose questions to your students about the kind of world they think we would have if fuel were to run out of supply. Have your students think about the many possible scenarios in a world with poor access, or no access to this important commodity. Write your students answers on a large writing tablet. Label these answers Post-Peak Oil World. Put this sheet aside as well.

Introduce to your students the subject of peak oil. At this point give your students only the basics on the topic. Write down the main points on the board, like the meaning of the term peak oil, for example.

For homework, you should have copies of an article on peak oil. This article shouldn't be too long, and it should be written to their grade level of understanding. Instruct the students to read this article, making highlights and notes throughout. They should be prepared to discuss the topic of peak oil.

STRATEGIES: On the next day of this lesson, you will have a more full-length discussion with your students on peak oil. Talk about the Infinite Growth Model, which basically states that constant expansion of modern society through the use of natural resources(like fuel) is the way to economic prosperity. Clearing away the rain forests to build cattle ranches for the beef industry is an example of this model. It doesn't stop there, because one needs roads to be paved for the supply trucks to make their deliveries. Ask your students if this scenario would even be possible if our access to oil was gone.

Bring the papers labeled Peak Oil World and Post-Peak Oil World for the class to look at again. Review the students' answers with them. Ask your students if they believe that there is any way to have a post-peak oil community, a place that would run efficiently without the dependence of any fuel. Have your students ponder on this for homework.

On the third day of this lesson, introduce your students to real-life post-peak oil communities whose goals are to live with little to no dependency to fuel, using mostly or entirely alternative energies(like wind and solar). These communities practice reusing, recycling, permaculture, food gardening, and making their own items by hand. They also have their own localized economies where everything that one needs is in the community, and not outside of it. Present to your students cooperative communities, permaculture communities, and the Transition Movement which was founded in the UK. Discuss with your students about these communities and their philosophies.

On the fourth day of this lesson, break the students up into groups. Have these groups do in-class research on the web. They should go beyond the introductory lesson that you gave them yesterday, coming up with their own findings. This day should be devoted to this research.

ASSESSMENT: On the fifth day of this lesson, with the information collected from the students' research, the student groups should be introduced to to blueprint making. Present to your students sample blueprints from books, magazines, and/or the internet as part of your instruction. Students should be given copies of blueprints for homework to go over, along with notes taken during this instruction.

On the sixth day of this lesson, supply students with grid paper that you feel is large enough for small groups to work on, compasses, rulers of various sizes, regular pencils, and colored pencils. Keep in mind that this project will take a few days.

Let's assume that this class has finished their blueprints on the eighth day of this lesson(if not, that's okay). Students will start creating small-scale models of the post-peak oil communities, using the blueprints as a guide.

Students should be given modeling clay, along with tools to cut, shape, and mold it with(butter knives, rolling pins, toothpicks, and chop sticks). Each group should also be given a large piece of oaktag to place their scale models on. This part of the lesson will probably take a few days as well.

On the tenth day(or whenever), when the models are dry, students should paint them to detail.

Finally, on the last day of this very involved lesson, the groups are able to present their post-peak oil communities. The students should be able to discuss how they applied what they had learned about these communities to create their scale models.

Peak Oil Quiz

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