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Project Look Sharp, Sox Sperry


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics

Resource Types

  • Activity - Classroom, 10-40 minutes
  • Lesson Plan
  • Video, 35 seconds
  • Video, 1 minute, 29 seconds
  • Worksheet

Regional Focus

North America, United States


PDF, Downloadable MP4/M4V

Ethanol: Pros and Cons

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  • In this activity, students use media literacy skills to evaluate opposing statements and video clips about the environmental value of replacing fossil fuels with ethanol. 
  • The resource includes student activities, a student handout, a lesson plan, and two video clips. 
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson shows students how media bias can affect people's opinions on climate change topics.
  • The worksheet does a good job of asking students to reflect on their own beliefs regarding ethanol before they start reading about it.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers must create a free account to use this resource.
  • Teachers may want to go over this handout on analyzing media messages with students before students complete the worksheet.
  • The lesson plan refers to a "constructivist media decoding process," details about which can be found here. The materials are very helpful for understanding the goals and design of the lesson.
  • Teachers may want to take time to research the sources to understand the different perspectives and biases before teaching the lesson.


  • Students could respond to questions individually or in small groups before discussing the answers as a class.
  • Social studies, debate, or ethics classes could discuss the danger of consuming media from a single outlet. Students could reflect on the following questions:
    • Is there value in hearing two perspectives on an issue, such as ethanol production and use?
    • How can you seek out multiple perspectives on an issue?
    • Would you prefer to consume media that only shows the perspective you already agree with? why or why not?
  • Other resources on this topic include this interactive map of biomass infrastructure in the United States, this video on why biomass is not widely used, and this video that shows the pros and cons of producing and using biofuels.
Scientist Notes

There is no contradiction in the resource. This resource is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • 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.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.2.6-8 Evaluate alternative approaches or solutions to current economic issues in terms of benefits and costs for different groups and society as a whole.
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.4.6-8 Explain how cultural patterns and economic decisions influence environments and the daily lives of people in both nearby and distant places.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.7 Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • Related Resources


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