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Photo by Michael Marais via Unsplash

Authors

Gabrielle Sierra, Asher Ross, Markus Zakaria, Rafaela Siewert

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College

Subjects

Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Podcast, 27 minutes, 47 seconds

Regional Focus

Global, Asia

Format

YouTube Video

Batteries Not Included

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Synopsis
  • This podcast introduces students to the ever-growing importance of lithium and its connection to the future of energy storage.
  • Experts discuss how lithium plays an integral role for electric cars and other devices that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Music and embedded audio clips enhance engagement with student listeners.
  • A transcript is provided, so teachers can have students read along as they listen.
  • Since there are so many helpful YouTube videos that correspond with the podcast, teachers can easily break the lesson into more in-depth segments.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There are eight links to YouTube videos about lithium and electric cars, but the second link is broken and the fourth link requires the user to sign in.
  • Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is mentioned, so teachers should be prepared for questions about it.

Differentiation

  • Several countries are mentioned as producing and refining lithium, so teachers may wish to provide world maps or digital globes as visual aids.
  • Since lithium and electric cars are the main ideas of the podcast, English teachers can have students research the concepts, and then create objective paragraphs containing the additional information they will discover. 
  • The geopolitical landscape, as it relates to clean energy, is mentioned at length, so Social Studies teachers can have students listen to the podcast, and then conduct further research into the politics of modern energy efficiency. 
  • A discussion of market power and strategy (as they relate to energy) is introduced, so Economics teachers can have students build upon the information in the podcast to create small-group presentations comparing and contrasting U.S. and Chinese market strategies.
  • The podcast ends with no clear answers provided, so teachers may wish to continue the discussion regarding the production of lithium.
Scientist Notes
This resource from the Council on Foreign Relations is a podcast that features a thoughtful discussion of issues facing the global lithium supply as transportation is increasingly electrified. The podcast features interviews with experts, including the former Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, and highlights how China is positioned as the world leader in lithium battery production. This resource presents technical and geopolitical challenges to increased lithium production in a nuanced manner and is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 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: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.11.9-12 Evaluate how economic globalization and the expanding use of scarce resources contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among countries.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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