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6th Grade Science / Lesson 4 - Fossil Fuels #1

Fossil Fuels 1

What will we be learning today?

  • In this lesson, we are going to learn what fossil fuels really are.

  • What Are Fossil Fuels?

    Where do you see or feel reactions that give off heat? A campfire is one example. The fuel that is burned to provide heat for your home and school is another.


    What Are Fossil Fuels?

    A fuel is anything that can be burned to produce heat. The most commonly used fuels are coal, oil, and natural gas. These are called fossil fuels. Why fossil? Because these fuels date back to ancient organisms of Earth's past.


    What Are Fossil Fuels?

    Plants in the past, as today, trapped the Sun's energy as they made food. As plants of the past died, they were buried over time under sediment and became fossils. Gradually they changed into the fossil fuels that are used today.


    What Are Fossil Fuels?

    Fossil fuels are an important part of your life. They are the fuels-coal, oil, and natural gas-that heat your home and run cars. They formed from the gradual decay of ancient life forms. Our study of Earth history has helped us to understand that fossil fuels take a very long time to form. For example, many of today's coal beds date back to the Paleozoic era.
    Americans love their cars but burn a lot of gasoline to run them.


    If we use up what now exists, it will take millions of years for new fossil fuels to form. We must conserve what we have. We must also search for other forms of energy that do not run out-such as energy directly from the Sun.