Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students investigate existing and emerging car technologies that may provide cleaner and more energy efficient modes of transport in the future. They will study past and existing technologies, analysing their pros and cons in regards to environmental impacts (inclusive of human health), efficiency and long-term sustainability to give them an understanding of why new modes of transport continue to be developed. Students create an alternative technology guide for the confused car buyer.


Following this lesson is an ideal way for students to participate in Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day – the largest nature-care event in Australian schools. You and your students will join thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference, fostering a child’s love of nature and creating positive environmental change. So, get growing! It only takes a minute to register for Schools Tree Day.


Learning goals:

  • Students understand why current vehicle technologies are unsustainable.
  • Students recognise a range of different vehicle technologies and how they might contribute to sustainability and human health.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 9 & 10 Design and Technologies

  • Explain how products, services and environments evolve with consideration of preferred futures and the impact of emerging technologies on design decisions (ACTDEK041).
  • Critique needs or opportunities to develop design briefs and investigate and select an increasingly sophisticated range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment to develop design ideas (ACTDEP048).

Syllabus Outcomes: D&T5.2.1, D&T5.3.1, D&T5.3.2, D&T5.1.1.

Topic: Schools Tree Day, Sustainability.

Time required: 60 mins (plus 15 min of homework).

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activity.

Resources required: Internet access, Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Hybrid vehicle technologies fact sheet, Internal combustion engines fact sheet, Electric vehicle technologies fact sheet , Hydrogen fuel cell technologies fact sheet, Future vehicles fact sheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension or homework.

Keywords: Car, technology, future, hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, electric, internal combustion engine, Planet Ark.

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


Teacher Worksheet

car-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this lesson students will understand why current vehicle technologies are unsustainable and will recognise a range of different vehicle technologies and how they might contribute to sustainability and human health.

Teacher content information: There are now over 17 million cars on our roads in Australia! Many of these cars are still a cause of concern in terms of air pollution (cars emit harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons) and in terms of climate change (road traffic is responsible for about 15% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions). So it’s no surprise that there is a growing interest in cars that are more sensitive to the environment and less harmful to human health.

There are a range of alternative technologies available to car driving for consumers seeking to have a lower environmental impact, such as electric vehicles, hybrid technologies and hydrogen-fuel cell techno

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What kind of car will you be driving in 50 years' time?

Before class complete this flipped classroom activity where we explore the hybrid car.

Task: Review this factsheet about hybrid vehicles, thinking specifically about your knowledge of hybrid technology. You can also draw on the resources at the bottom of the worksheet if you would like to explore further. 

Is the Hybrid the car of the future?





Part 1. What do you already know about car technologies?

Other than hybrid technology, what other types of technologies are available?

Why are we exploring different technologies?

What are the problems with current technologies (e.g. environmental and human health?) 

Part 2. In this activity you will be looking at past and present car technologies. You will be finding out how these vehicles work, how well used these technologies are, and what the social, economic and environmental considerations of the

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