Fossil Fuels Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

This lesson plan uses active learning models to teach your students about fossil fuel. Students will read a text lesson that guides them through facts about fossil fuel, interact with content, then show what they know in a hands-on activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'fossil fuel'
  • explain the types of fossil fuels
  • describe the relationship between greenhouse gases and fossil fuels


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the lesson Fossil Fuel Facts: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Clear plastic cups
  • Four differing types and colors of cereal to represent layers of rock - one dark, one colorful, one flaky, and one simple. For example, Coco Puffs, Trix, Corn Flakes, and Cheerios.
  • Small zipper baggies
  • Poster board
  • Access to technology and the internet
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils

Key Vocabulary

  • Fossil fuels
  • Renewable energy
  • Greenhouse gas

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3

Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Divide students into partner-pairs and give each a clear plastic cup and a zipper baggie.
  • Have students prepare a lab page in their notebooks, titled 'Fossil Fuel.' Ask students to add a sub-header that says, 'Rock Layers' before dividing the page in half vertically with a line. Instruct them to label the left half of their pages 'Sketch' and the right half, 'Notes.'
  • Prepare the rock layers by giving students some of the dark cereal and having them place in the zipper bag and crush, then transfer the crushed cereal to the plastic cup.
  • Tell students to draw a sketch of their cup on the left side of their journal and label the bottom layer of their drawing (the dark cereal layer) 'Coal.'
  • Make the next layer with the colored cereal by crushing in the same way and adding to the plastic cup, then sketching in the notebook and labeling this layer 'Sandstone.'
  • Now make layer with the flaky cereal in the same way, add to the cup, and have them label their drawings 'Shale.' The final layer will be made with the simple cereal and be labeled 'Sand.'
  • When student sketches are finished, have students write notes about their rock layers on the right side, recording what they notice about the layers. Discuss briefly as a whole group.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account