Activity Introduction

Subjects: Science.

Year Levels: Year 6 and Year 7.

Topics: Climate change. Click here for more lessons on these topics.

Teaching Time: 60 minutes.

Quick summary: Students understand how electric cars work, and demonstrate how they can reduce carbon emissions from transportation, while also considering some of the challenges associated with this solution.


Cool would like to thank the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation for generously supporting the development of these lessons.


21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingProblem Finding

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 6

Content descriptions: Year 6 Science:

  • Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097)

Relevant parts of the Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students analyse requirements for the transfer of electricity and describe how energy can be transformed from one form to another when generating electricity.

Year 7

Content descriptions: Year 7 Science:

  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)

Relevant parts of the Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the sustainable use of resources depends on the way they are formed and cycle through Earth systems.

Syllabus Outcomes: ST3-6PW, SC4-12ES. 

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work IPCC Climate Change Solutions.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Discuss the IPCC report with students, directly instruct students on how electric vehicles work, and support them in independent work.

Resources required:

  • A device capable of presenting a video to the class (optional)
  • Art materials – coloured pencils and textas
  • Individual devices capable of accessing the internet – one per student (optional)
  • Presentation Slides (optional)
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student (optional)
  • Whiteboard.

Related Professional Development: If you’re interested in learning more about how to approach challenging topics around climate change and sustainability in your classroom through a Hope and Optimism lens, consider our PD course.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... demonstrate ways in which net-zero carbon emissions can be reached by 2050.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … explain, with diagrams and technical language, how electric cars work
  • ... explain, with evidence, how such cars reduce carbon emissions.

Teaching Sequence

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

10 minutes – Part A: The context - Briefly introduce students to the IPCC's Sixth Report on climate change science, and the hope lens we will use for approaching potential solutions to the challenges the report presents.
20 minutes – Part B: The challenge - Students explore how electric cars work and how they can reduce carbon emissions from transportation.
20 minutes – Part C: The solution - Students create a diagram of how electric cars work. They reflect objectively on some of the challenges electric cars might present with regards to the goal of reducing carbon emissions.
5 m

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: The total life cycle emissions from a fossil-fuelled car in Australia were about 333g of CO₂ per km. How can we reduce this?

The challenge

Step 1. Watch these clips once through to get a general overview, then rewatch them taking notes.

How Car Engine Works | Autotechlabs (

Summarise your understanding in a short paragraph:

How Do Electric Vehicles Work? (

Summarise your understanding in a short paragraph:

Step 2. What are some of the potential challenges in making the change to electric vehicles? Why might Australians be reluctant about making this change?





Optional: Research some of the potential challenges and solutions around EVs by reading the following articles:

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.