Energy issues are an important factor in the functioning of our economy and infrastructure. Therefore, students need to understand issues connected with increasing consumption of energy and differences in consumption rates between geographic regions. In this exercise, students use Google Earth and information from several web sites to investigate total and per capita rates of oil and total energy consumption in various parts of the world.
In this activity, students learn to use satellite and aerial imagery, maps, graphs, spreadsheets, descriptive information, and statistics to compare energy and oil consumption rates between states in the United States and among various countries. They also use this information to explain these differences, as well as differences in categories of consumption, such as domestic, transportation, industrial, and commercial use. They are also asked for opinions regarding what measures countries should take toward reducing oil consumption.
Students will need to be familiar with how to use Google Earth (a guide and tip sheet is included), basic understanding of how energy is measured, how oil supply is quantified, and how oil and energy serve human needs (like transportation and energy production). Suggested length of the activity is 80 minutes. A student guide as a word document is included so the teacher can alter as needed based on student needs. Teachers will need to make sure to download Google Earth on the computers used for this activity in order to open the map files. Teachers should download the KMZ files before the classroom lesson is presented to ensure they are easily accessible during the lesson. Teachers will also need to make sure computers are configured to open kmz files.
This activity was written for the university level, but would be appropriate for high school