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Earth's Energy Sources (pre-assessment)

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

The Science of Earth's Energy Sources

Fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gas—consist of the remains of ancient plants, animals and one-celled organisms that have been buried under intense pressures and high temperatures for millions of years. The resulting substances deliver much more useful energy than raw plant materials, such as wood.

When fossil fuels are burned, carbon-containing molecules combine rapidly with oxygen. This chemical reaction releases energy in the form of heat. It also releases CO2 into the air. 

Many other chemical substances also are produced by the burning or incomplete burning of fossil fuels.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Numbers: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education