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									From seed to energy

From seed to energy

Pedagogical programme on cultivated plants, renewable energy resources, regional
economic development
(age: 13 – 15 years)

Grade:                        7th -9th grade

Relation to curriculum:       7th-9th grade (general education) on the field “Fundamentals of
                              Technology and Science”
                              Knowledge and understanding of biological systems and
                              processes (Basic principles of the structure of plants. Parts of
                              plants, their functions and adaptability to habitat)
                              Fundamentals of research in biology
                              Biology in agriculture (Role of plants in human life. Alimentary
                              plants. Technical crops)
                              Understanding of physical phenomena and processes.
                              Physical notions and entities: power, pressure, labour, capacity,
                              Use of simple mechanisms and models of joint vessels for
                              explaining mechanical processes.
                              Research activity.
                              Physics and sustainable development.
                              Use of simple mechanisms in everyday life and technology.
                              Opportunities for a motivated contribution to conservation and
                              development of the quality of environment.

Duration:                     150 min or 2.5 astronomical hours

Keywords:                     Alimentary plants, technical crops, renewable energy sources,
                              pressure, oil plant.

Content with theoretical background:

The supply of fossil fuel on the earth is decreasing every year, while the consumption of fuel,
on the contrary, is increasing. The endeavours of scientists and politicians to solve energy
problems ought to be complemented by educating the society. Already in the basic school
pupils’ understanding of the issues of economic use of energy and alternative ways of energy
production in the respective region should be developed. Field trip to the nearest canola oil
plant or biodiesel production enterprise creates opportunities for pupils to get acquainted with
technological processes of producing oil and biodiesel, evaluate the economic effectiveness of
these technical crops and realise the significance of saving energy resources.

Educational objectives:

   -     The pupils are to learn about growing and use of canola as alimentary and technical
   -     The pupils are to learn about the technological processes of canola oil and biodiesel
   -     The pupils are to visit the nearest regional canola oil/biodiesel production enterprises
         and evaluate their significance;
   -     The pupils are to develop cooperation and research skills.
From seed to energy
Learning ambiance:

Photo exhibition at canola oil plant or biodiesel production enterprise, information cards and
tools for performing experimental tasks in groups (Interest education centre or exhibition hall
can serve as alternative for a field trip to a real enterprise). The lesson can also be organised at
school by replacing the field trip with watching a DVD film about producing canola oil or
biodiesel in Latvia (Poland, Germany).


     Blackboard
     Coloured cards
     Cards with situation description and questions for activating prior knowledge
     Envelopes containing crossword puzzles
     Collection of photos
     Container with canola seeds
     Container with canola oil
     Container with biodiesel
     Container with canola cake
     Instruction cards for experiments
     Filter paper
     Pestle
     1l bottle of water
     A tumbler
     Rubber tube or cocktail straw
     Cards with tasks for economists competition
     Prize

Things to be done before the event:

Organisers have to arrange the time of field trip with the authorities of out-of-school learning
place, agree about the possibilities of displaying a photo exhibition and organising the
envisaged activities at the chosen enterprise or Interest education centre.

Plan of the course

    Time   Stages
    5΄     Introduction. Discussion to create the learning context (at school)
    10΄    Setting the problem and primary awareness (at school)
    15΄    Group formation. Activating prior knowledge. Preparation for the field trip
    30΄    Field trip to the nearest canola oil plant or biodiesel production enterprise (or Interest
           education centre or exhibition hall with appropriate learning ambiance)
    30΄    Viewing the photo exhibition and solving crossword puzzles
    30΄    Experimental testing of the technological stages of canola oil production
    20΄    Competition of economists
    10΄    Conclusion

Review of the programme

Time/station        Contents/course                                                Material
5΄/Introduction,    Through conversation pupils are encouraged to compare Blackboard
discussion to       their grandparents’ and their own schooling. Pupils’ answers
create       the    are written on the board.
learning            Pupils are encouraged to evaluate the proposed differences
context             (frontal talk or group discussion) and choose three most
                    prominent differences that characterise people’s life 50 years
From seed to energy

                 ago and nowadays. Pupils conclude that one of the most
                 significant differences is means of transport (also food,
                 leisure activities, IT).

10΄/Setting the Pupils are divided into groups. Cards are distributed and Coloured
problem         pupils are encouraged to read about and discuss the cards                 for
                possible future energy crisis in their groups.                 grouping
                Pupils are encouraged to express their opinion on the Situation
                following questions:                                           description
                     1) What can each of us do to survive in such situation?
                     2) What can each of us do if we anticipate such situation
                        in the future?
                     3) Who can help to solve such crisis?

                 When discussing the last question, pupils agree that such
                 situation requires:
                      knowledgeable theorists/analysts;
                      technicians capable of solving practical problems;
                      economists who are able to calculate the necessary
                 Pupils are told that later in the lesson they will have an
                 opportunity to try each of these roles.
                 Through conversation, saving energy as well as production
                 and consumption of alternative energy (fuel) sources are
                 emphasised. One of these alternatives is production and
                 processing of canola seeds.
15΄/Activating   In groups pupils are asked to discuss the following questions: Question
prior                  What do you know about canola?                          cards
knowledge              What products can be made out of canola?
                       Where are canola processing enterprises located in
                         our region (country)?
                       What would you like to learn about canola?
                 After 5’ of discussion groups are asked first to answer
                 question 1, then questions 2 and 3 and finally question 4.
                 Each group in turn mentions one fact, thesis, or conclusion.

30΄/Field trip  Preparation for the field trip
                Pupils are informed that very soon they will have an
                opportunity to find answers to the questions they are
                interested in. They are informed about the time of the field
                trip and other organisational issues related to it.
                The employee of bio-diesel factory (oil plant or another
                similar enterprise) guides the field trip, shows the equipment
                and gives information about the history of the enterprise, the
                technological processes of production, raw materials, end
                products and their marketing, production waste, energy
                consumption, etc.
                Pupils are given opportunity to interrogate the guide about
                the issues of their interest.
30΄/Viewing     At the end of pupils’ question session the guide announces        Envelopes
the       photo that after viewing the photo exhibition pupils will have to       containing
exhibition and solve crosswords and they will be able to solve them only if       crossword
solving         they view the exhibition about production of oil and biodiesel    puzzles (they
crossword       carefully and closely. Before viewing the exhibition pupils are   chiefly
puzzles         informed that the most knowledgeable and skilful team will        contain
From seed to energy

                 receive a prize.                                                  identical
                 After some time when pupils have viewed the exhibition,           questions in
                 each group is offered a set of worksheets containing a            different
                 crossword puzzle and 2 tasks and is asked to draw one             order)
                 worksheet from the set. When solving the crossword puzzles
                 pupils are allowed to use all the accessible information.
                 After solving the crossword puzzle, each group is asked to
                 give a brief commentary of the keyword in the puzzle and
                 name the number of products that are produced from canola.
                 The group that is the first to complete the empty squares in
                 the crossword puzzle and to write the most exhaustive list of
                 products that are produced from canola receives a prize
30΄/             Pupils are invited to perform an experimental task: practically   Appliances
Experiments      obtain canola oil and describe the method of production or do     and
                 any other experimental tasks, e.g. compare various oil            equipment
                 samples, think of a way to pump oil from one vessel to            for
                 another, etc.                                                     experimental
                 At the end of experimental activity each group is invited to      activity
                 present their experiment (results of experiment).
20΄/             A competition to determine the best group of economists is        Envelopes
Economists’      announced. The groups are asked to draw an envelope               containing
competition      containing a task.                                                tasks
                 Content of the task. On what area (how many hectares)
                 should a farmer sow canola so that in autumn, after
                 processing canola seeds, to produce enough biodiesel to
                 drive a distance of 5000 km?
                 The prize is awarded to the group who is the first to give the
                 right answer.
                 Teacher can choose to give groups other tasks.
10΄/             Pupils are invited to evaluate the effectiveness of biodiesel     Prizes
Conclusion       production by emphasising the side-factors of canola
                 production: spruceness of fields, improved soil structure,
                 oxygen production, reduced unemployment in rural areas,
                 obtaining canola oil – a valuable alimentary product, etc.
                 Pupils are asked to consider the possible negative influence
                 of canola on various economical spheres. Each citizen’s
                 participation in solving energy problems – saving energy
                 (light, water, fuel, heat) is emphasised.
                 Before giving prizes to the winners, pupils are asked to
                 summarise and evaluate what they have learned. Possible
                 questions for groups: during the lesson, what was the most
                 difficult the most interesting, the most boring, the easiest,
                 Prizes are given to best theoreticians (winners of crossword
                 puzzle competition), best practitioners (winners of experiment
                 competition), and best economists (winners of task solving


Latgale region: Farm “Zalites”, Daugavpils municipal district, Eglaine rural country parish, LV-
5444 - possibility to visit canola oil plant.

If possible, the teacher can also organise a trip to a garage or car service centre where
engineers or other specialists could tell students about the practical use of biodiesel in car
From seed to energy
engines (restrictions - there are only few such places in Latvia). See

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