This unit has been written as part of a team effort with a colleague, Crystal LaVoie, to develop two complementary curriculum units, focusing on energy and the environment. The units are designed to be taught within a pilot Integrated Science curriculum for ninth and tenth graders during the 2004-2005 school year at New Haven Academy. New Haven Academy (NHA) is a new (founded 2003) interdistrict magnet high school, serving students from New Haven and 25 surrounding communities. Currently consisting of 65 ninth graders, NHA will eventually become a school for grades 9-12, adding a ninth grade each year until 2006. NHA is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, an organization whose mission is “to create and sustain equitable, intellectually vibrant, personalized schools and to make such schools the norm of American public education.” In keeping with this vision, NHA’s specific mission is to “provide a rigorous education that prepares all students to succeed in college”.
The Integrated Science format will combine Physical, Earth, and Life Science. This unit will be used as a link between the Physical and Earth Science segments. Ms. LaVoie will introduce energy at the fundamental level first. Students will investigate the relationship of energy to work, and be introduced to the first law of thermodynamics. The potential, kinetic and mechanical forms of energy will be introduced and explored. Engine models will be introduced, and discussed. Ms. La Voie’s unit will culminate with an introductory lesson on the internal combustion engine.
Following Ms. La Voie’s unit, I will introduce this unit, which will begin with a more detailed look at the internal combustion engine. We will then move on to a more in-depth look at the fossil fuels oil, coal and natural gas. Sources, usage rate and sustainability of fuels will be covered as part of the discussions. We will address impacts of fossil fuels on the environment, and possible solutions for reduction thereof.
Throughout the course of both units, students will be asked to relate the usage of energy and resources to their daily lives. Energy conservation will be emphasized, and we will touch on the political implications of energy policies.