2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 208-10
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM-4:30 PM

GLOBAL ENERGY PROJECT: ENERGY AND QUALITY OF LIFE SIMULATIONS IN THE GEOSCIENCE CLASSROOM

QUANE, Steve, Earth Sciences, Quest University Canada, 3200 University Blvd, Squamish, BC V8B 0N8 Canada, steve.quane@questu.ca

Energy resource production and consumption are fast becoming a major component of modern earth science course curriculums. Here, I describe an in-class simulation used to engage students in the geological aspects of energy resource formation, extraction and production as well as policy and economic aspects of energy consumption, quantifying quality of life standards and geopolitical realities of energy use.

In this project, a class is divided into 6 countries, each with differing abundance of population and natural resources, as well as disparate geography and climate. Countries are purposefully fictitious, in order to avoid preconceived notions of existing domestic and foreign policies. The goal of the project is to for each country to produce a Quality of Life Quotient (QLQ) as close to Squamish, British Columbia (home of Quest University Canada) as possible. This QLQ can easily be adapted to the hometown of any institution. The QLQ is measured per capita by five metrics; comfort (heating and cooling of homes, transportation by car) food (2000 calorie per day diet), money (economic reserves), carbon footprint (pounds of CO2 emitted) and peacefulness (military conflict over resource needs).

After a cursory assessment of their needs, student groups, or countries, assign roles for each individual including a representative to the “Consolidated Trade Federation” (CTF) and publicly define their domestic and foreign policies, including the resources they intend to buy and sell and the size of their military. Each class period starts with a meeting of the CTF where representatives state their respective countries’ activities and announce resource purchases and sales and agreements with other nations including military conflicts. As part of this exercise, each country researches and presents the methods by which they produce energy and quantifies energy needs and resources. Concepts covered are oil and natural gas formation and production, coal formation and electricity production and transmission, uranium deposit formation and nuclear power production, hydrology and water usage, wind and solar cycles and alternative energy production and the carbon cycle.

Students prove passionate and creative during this simulation and exhibited good knowledge retention of the fundamental geology concepts on subsequent exams.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 208
Energy Education in the Geoscience Classroom: Preparing Future Citizens, Scientists, and Policy Makers
Colorado Convention Center: Room 201
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 496

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