Medical Technology: organ harvesting and Transplants

Medical Technology: organ harvesting and Transplants

Exploring Alternative Fuels in

Middle Schools

By John F. Donley and Gary A. Stewardson

Students were given the

opportunity to learn about a

current, global issue and how

they might have an impact.









Price per barrel of crude oil


Oct-07 Jan-08 Apr-08 Jul-08 Oct-08 Jan-09

Table 1. Fluctuation of crude oil prices.


Alternative energy sources have become increasingly

important as the production of domestic oil has declined

and our dependence on foreign oil has increased. Pickens

(2008) believes the greatest threat to ever face the United

States is “our crippling dependence on foreign oil” (p. 3).

Historically, there have been four time periods during which

the United States was in fact crippled by oil shortages. These

time periods include: the early 1900s, World War II, the

early 1970s, and most recently, a fifteen-month period from

2007-2009 (Energy Information Administration, 2008b).

During this most recent time period, oil prices doubled

in only nine months and then fell to half the original price

in the next six months (see Table 1). Americans felt the

effects of this phenomenon in many aspects of their lives:

travel to work, vacations, groceries, buying products that

required shipping, and the cost of heating their homes. This

uncontrollable change in oil prices will happen again as

our nation’s demand continues to increase while domestic

production and future foreign production diminish

(Pickens, 2008, pp. 127-131). The general population needs

to be technologically literate concerning alternative fuels in

order to make intelligent decisions on meeting our energy


This article focuses on a new unit of study that teaches

concepts relating to alternative fuels—specifically, ethanol

and biodiesel. Also covered will be the responses from

students, parents, and administrators concerning the

new unit of instruction. This article does not claim to be

20 • The Technology Teacher • April 2010

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