Queens Satellite Science Course Outline


Title: Energy Alternatives

Instructor: Vic Fiallo

Description: This course will explore the necessity for humans to develop alternatives to fossil fuel in an urban context.

Target Population: Regular population � middle-level students

Goals and Objectives: Students will obtain mastery in conducting and reporting secondary research. Through this process, students will demonstrate content knowledge in the area of Physical and Life Sciences as it relates to Energy Alternatives in the urban environment.

Major Topics /Themes and Alignment to Standards:

Weeks 1-6: Introduction to the course: An overview of content and processes to be explored. We will engage in a series of lectures, readings and discussions answering the following questions:

What is energy and how is it created?

What are the various types of energy?

How is energy transformed from one type to another?

How was energy transformed to do work in pre-industrial civilizations?

How is energy transformed to do work in present day civilization?

How has the use of fossil fuels impacted the way the world is today?

What is the relationship between food production and human population growth?

How has the use of fossil fuels affected food production and human population growth?

What is the distinction between renewable and non-renewable energy sources?

Being that fossil fuels are non-renewable, what effect will their depletion have on food production and human population?

What other aspects of our civilization will be affected by fossil fuel depletion?

In which ways do renewable energy sources play a role in solutions to our fossil fuel dependency?

What are the various renewable energy technologies and how do they work?

What obstacles stand in the way of the use of renewable energy technologies replacing fossil fuel technologies?

How would a transition away from fossil fuel technologies to renewable technologies affect each aspect of our way of life?

What modifications to our lifestyles would be necessary to make renewable energy technologies work for us?

(S1a-S1f, S2c, S2d, S2e, S3e, S3e, S4a-S4e,)

Weeks 7-12: Project work - Phase One: Use Gaviotas readings to springboard research ideas and project solutions. Complete individual research paper.

(Sf5, S6d, S7a-S7e, S8d)

Weeks 13-18: Project work - Phase two: Use research to further develop concept for project, plan milestones for completion and delegate tasks. Present the completed project to peers. Engage the community, persuading the realization of the project.

(Sf5, S6d, S7a-S7e, S8d)

Resources and Materials:

Computer lab



Weisman, Alan. (1998). Gaviotas: A Village To Reinvent The World. White River Junction,

Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Company.

To be developed as projects require

Assessment Measures:

Approximately every 6 weeks, students will receive a quiz to assess their understanding of the processes and content learned during that period.

Students will be given a choice of several research projects to choose from, involving five critical components:

1. Secondary research on topic presented in a referenced paper adequately covering scope of the topic.

2. Application of the research in order to create the project chosen.

3. Graphical or structural representation of the concept(s) presented in the project.

4. Presentation of research and project to a peer audience.

5. Present the project to the community to inform and inspire activism.

Students will keep a class notebook and a homework folder which will be audited for completeness and understanding.

Students will maintain a project book, detailing a time line for task completion as well as a daily detail of the work set out to accomplish vs. what was actually accomplished each day.

The course work will be evaluated as follows:

Research Paper 30%

Project 30%


Project Book 10%

Participation (CW/HW) 20%