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Daniel Sperling, Gil Tal


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, History, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 19 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Articles and Websites
  • Assessments

Regional Focus


The Surprisingly Long History of Electric Cars

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  • This animated video outlines the history of cars, from the invention of battery-powered electric vehicles in the early 20th century to the current surge in the popularity of electric cars. 
  • Students will learn that electric cars are becoming less expensive and more efficient. 
  • This resource includes comprehension questions, links to additional resources, and a guided discussion board. 
Teaching Tips


  • Students, especially car-enthusiasts, will enjoy this engaging video.
  • The video does a good job of explaining the historical context behind developments in the auto industry.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers and students must create a free account to use the "Think" and "Discuss" features.


  • Math and economics classes could calculate the average price difference between gasoline-powered cars and electric cars over a 5-year period and 10-year period. Students should consider the purchase price and the cost of fuel and maintenance.
  • Civics and government classes could discuss the impact of policies such as California's Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate and Europe's Emissions Standards on the electric car industry.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video about the cost of electric cars, this video about the best cars for the planet, and this article about people's perceptions of electric vehicles.
Scientist Notes
In the 1800s, several different people around the world began experimenting with batteries and electric motors, eventually developing the first electric cars. Now, almost 200 years later, electric cars are poised to become the dominant car on the road. This resource offers a quick history of electric vehicles. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • MS-ETS1-2 Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.6-8 Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
      • D2.His.14.6-8 Explain multiple causes and effects of events and developments in the past.
      • D2.His.1.9-12 Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts.
  • Related Resources


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