Hybrid Vehicles: Cut Pollution & Save Money
The purpose of this education module is to introduce students to the advantages and benefits of putting more hybrid electric vehicles on the streets, and also to open their eyes to the economic reality of buying or owning a hybrid electric vehicle. By working through this exercise, students will have practice with ratios and proportions, percents, dimensional analysis, and linear relationships.
Time Required: Students should be able to complete this module in three to five days. The activities in this module can be presented together, or separately during the year following the units in which the mathematical concepts used herein are presented.
By the end of this module, students will:
-Know the definitions of internal combustion engine, hybrid electric vehicle, emissions, and pollution.
-Be able to calculate the percentage reduction in emissions achieved by a hybrid electric vehicle.
-Be able to calculate the increase in fuel mileage, or the decrease in fuel consumption, for a hybrid electric vehicle.
-Be able to calculate the payback period for purchase of a hybrid electric vehicle.
Understand the difference between a part-to-part ratio, a part-to-whole ratio, and a rate.
-Be able to set up and solve proportions using rates and ratios.
-Be able to set up and solve percentages as proportions.
-Be able to describe a linear relationship in terms of rate and starting point, using a graph, a table or an equation.
-Be able to find the y-intercept and the x-intercept of a linear relationship, using a graph, a table or an equation.
Activity 1: Reducing Truck Emissions
In this exercise, students will compare the emissions of a normal gasoline-powered vehicle with the emissions of a hybrid vehicle. They will calculate the percent reduction in emissions (or pollution) and the percent of fuel saved by using a hybrid electric vehicle. In the follow-up activity, they will calculate the total amount of fuel saved if a certain percentage of vehicles in Colorado were to be replaced by hybrid electric vehicles.
Activity 2: How Catalytic Converters Work
In this exercise, students will use linear functions to determine the total amount of hydrocarbons emitted by a vehicle depending on its catalyst temperature. For this exercise, students will use a table to create a graph, and then answer questions based on the graph.
Activity 3: How Much Does It Cost?
In this exercise, students will conduct research to find the sale price of a hybrid electric vehicle. They will conduct research to find their family car’s fuel mileage and average monthly miles traveled. (As an alternative, the teacher can supply them with a few examples, like the ones provided in this activity.) Students will then calculate the dollar value of fuel savings per month by switching to a hybrid electric vehicle. Finally, using the purchase price of a hybrid electric vehicle and the monthly savings rate, they will create a linear function using an equation a table and a graph, and calculate the payback period for purchasing a hybrid electric vehicle.
Detailed instructions and requirements for each activity can be found in the attached lesson plan.
Assessment rubric can be found on page 25 of the attached lesson plan.
Source:US Department of Energy
Resource Type:Lesson Plan
Subject(s):Mathematics, Science, Technology and Skilled Trades, Environmental Science,
Topic:Energy Generation, Energy Use and Conservation, Science and Technology,
Level:Intermediate / Middle
Grade: 4 5 6 7 8 9
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