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Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

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  • Videos, 4 minutes, 10 seconds, CC
  • Worksheets
  • Articles and Websites

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Google Docs, PDF, YouTube Video

Fossil Fuels and CO2

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  • Chapter 3 of the Our Climate Our Future series includes a video, student worksheet, and three linked articles.
  • The video explains the formation of fossil fuels and how burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide.
  • The student readings provide additional context and information about methane hydrates, fossil fuel formation, and Earth's climate history.
Teaching Tips


  • The animations are very helpful in understanding the carbon cycle and how fossil fuels formed.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers need to create a free account to access the video and materials. 


  • This is a great resource for virtual or online learning. 
  • History classes could use this video when discussing the Industrial Revolution or societal changes over the last 200 years brought about by machines and industrial production. 
  • Chemistry and biology classes could use this video for lessons about the carbon cycle, combustion, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and states of matter.
  • Earth science and geology classes could use this video when discussing Earth's history, climate, paleoclimate, and geologic processes.
  • Other resources related to this topic include this interactive data resource about carbon emissions, this instructional video about human impacts on the environment, and this table of solutions to climate change.
Scientist Notes

The resource has provided clear illustrations on fossil fuels. There is no misconception in the terms used or any contradictions in the content of this resource. This resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-7 Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
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