After the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, the 50 nuclear reactors of the Japan were shut down as a precaution. The archipelago must therefore find ways to compensate for this lack and to diversify its supply.
This is the reason why, according to various Japanese media, the country is considering entering into an agreement with Canada to buy shale gas from it. Canada could supply up to 40 million tonnes per year according to Japanese government sources, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported. This represents more than 45 % of the volume of liquefied natural gas (LNG) imported by Japan in 2012.
Source: The New Factory
The short learning situations, described below, will allow the pupils in particular to become more familiar with shale gas.
At the end of the activities, the student will be able to:
- Discover the different sources of renewable energy on Earth.
- Generate graphs with development indicators around the world.
- Become familiar with shale gas and learn how it is formed in the earth.
- Explain why the overexploitation of natural resources is harmful.
- Interpret the lyrics of a song with ecological connotations.
ACTIVITY 1: What is shale gas?
Start a discussion with your students in order to take stock of their knowledge in relation to the shale gas, which we have talked about a lot lately in the Quebec media. Ask the students to come and write key words related to this type of gas and to explain to the group what they know about it.
Then introduce them to this short explanatory video describing the shale gas problem explained in less than two minutes.
ACTIVITY 2: Advantages and disadvantages of renewable energies
Lead a discussion with your students to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of using renewable energies such as solar energy and solar thermal energy, the biomass, wind energy, geothermal energy as well as hydraulic energy.
Introduce each type of energy using the links provided, reading the first paragraph for each. Following the presentation of each, question the students by asking them to reflect and indicate, in writing, the various potential advantages and disadvantages, in their opinion, of this type of energy. Introduce the other types of renewable energy and do the same. Go back as a large group to make common notes. You could, to facilitate sharing, use a shared document in Google drive, a wiki space, or a page in the tool Didacti, or other collaborative online tool so that your students can easily consult the result and improve it, if necessary.
Here are some ideas to fuel class discussions:
ACTIVITY 3: Overexploitation of natural resources
Watch this video capsule with your students so that they can observe powerful images of the overexploitation of natural resources. Ask them to pay particular attention to the lyrics of the song by the Quebec group. The Dashing Cowboys entitled Nothing, by distributing an excerpt from the text (which you could retrieve online, like here) after viewing the video. Read the lyrics with your students and question them to check their understanding of this eco-friendly song. (Beware of copyright: in Quebec, the reproduction of a work at a rate of 10 % or less is considered fair. Beyond that, check with Copibec!)
In small working groups, invite the students to list the impacts on our society of the various types of exploitation such as the ecological footprint, fishing, agriculture, industries, water, land and forestry. Make a collective feedback on the discoveries of the pupils so that they can have a common vision of the different ways of overexploiting natural resources.
Possible answers, among others, on the site ofHello teacher and on the Canadian biodiversity site.
ACTIVITY 4: GDP of the richest countries in the world
Introduce the site Google public data to your students because they will have to familiarize themselves with it in the next activity related to the GDP (Gross domestic product). Have your students observe the different indicators of development around the world in the left section. In the bottom section, still on the left of the page, you can check one or more countries to refine your data searches. For example, have a look at the colored graph generated with the GDP data.
Let your students discover the different types of graphs available and the different options that can be configured during this activity. Once the site is briefly presented and, after doing a modeling in their presence, ask them to choose one of the development indicators and go in search of some amazing data for them. They will be able to compare their development indicator with several countries in order to interpret the data following the graphs generated. After the students' experimentation period, have them present some graphs obtained by volunteers and take the opportunity to question them in order to further their thinking.
Source: Google public data
GDP ranking: richest countries in the world
List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita
Impacts of climate change on natural resources
Map of the distribution of oil and gas in Europe
Energy and natural resources
Let's reduce our environmental footprint
More about the magazine
The more natural resources a country has, the lower its educational level
Natural resources: a sad wealth
How the degradation of our resources can lead to serious natural disasters
The challenges of the economy - Natural resources
World Trade Report 2010