Lesson – Transportation Conventional and Alternate Fuels: How is it Used?


Title: Transportation Conventional and Alternate Fuels: How is it Used?
Grade: 4th Grade
Duration: 45 Minutes

Please note: This is a Project Based Learning Project with four separate steps.


  • Investigate and describe some basic forms of energy, including light,heat, sound, electrical, chemical, and mechanical.
  • Energy exists in many forms and has the ability to do work or cause a change – SC.5.P.10.1


Can vehicles use a variety of different sources of energy and create the same outcome?


In this unit of study students will continue their focus on energy and all of its forms. Students will be researching and collaborating both the advantages and disadvantages of conventional and alternative energy used for transportation.


Energy • Work Kinetic EnergyPotential Energy Chemical Energy Electrical Energy Electromagnetic Energy Heat Energy Light Energy Mechanical Energy Nuclear Energy Solar Energy Sound Energy Centripetal Force

Essential Question

  • Do the needs of society, one’s personal beliefs, and/or changes to the quality of life effect considerations in determining the transportation fuels we use?
  • Do all transportation fuels have economic, environmental, and social advantages and disadvantages?

Background Information

Sir Isaac Newton, used mathematics and science to describe natural phenomenon which, at the time, were not understood. Newton’s Laws of Motion are still in use today, and these principles can be found in almost any moving technology. Newton discovered that to move an object, it must experience a force that makes it move in a certain direction. The object set in motion will continue this motion until it experiences an opposite force. You have felt this phenomenon when riding in a roller coaster car. When the car starts moving, you rock backward because your body is not ready for a sudden forward movement. After you are moving, if the car stops you will rock forward because your body wants to keep moving forward. Think about it the next time you are riding a roller coaster.

Newton realized that when an object moves, or accelerates, in a circle, the object wants to move out, away from the circle’s center. For example,when you are riding in a car and it makes a turn, your body moves to the outside of the turn, away from the direction of the turn. The force that makes you move in a circular path, even though your body wants to move away from the turn, is called centripetal force.

For hundreds of years mankind has made an effort to fine ways to keep our society moving. We, as a society are constantly looking for ways to move at faster speeds. Just think about the evolution of the car and other modes of transportation in the last century.

What kind of impact are we going to make in sustaining our environment as technology is continuously changing?