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Science Lesson Plan

Grade Level: 4

Fossil Fuel Activity

This experiment is to demonstrate the creation of fossil fuels in the Earths crust.
Estimated Time:
20-30 minutes
Materials needed:
Empty water or pop bottle (one for each group)
Alka-Seltzer or other anti-acids
Balloons (one for each group)
Worksheet (one for each student)
Indiana State Guidelines:

Explain that energy in fossil fuels comes from plants that grew long ago.

Procedure for Experiment:

After the students are divided into groups of three or four, have them read the
worksheet and answer any questions they have. Next have them obtain an empty bottle, a
balloon, and an Alka-Seltzer (one large one or two small ones). Have the groups fill their
water bottles about two-thirds of the way full of water (the more water in, the better the
experiment will work). Next, have the students stretch the balloons out, and blow them
up a little. When the balloons have been stretched out, have one student hold the balloon,
while another student is going to put the Alka-Seltzer into the bottle (large tablets may
need to be broken in half). As soon as the students have dropped the tablet into the bottle,
have another student put the deflated balloon over the opening of the bottle. The students
should watch the Alka-Seltzer to see what happens to it, and what happens to the balloon.
After the Alka-Seltzer is dissolved and the students have answered their questions, they
can dump the water down the drain, and throw away the balloons and bottles.
Follow Up:
Explain to the students that as the Alka-Seltzer dissolved, it produced a gas that
inflated the balloon. Tell them that this is similar to how buried plants and animals break
down and create pockets of gas in the Earth. This is how the natural gas was formed that
was found under the town of Eaton.

Fossil Fuel Worksheet

Petroleum, natural gas, and coal are the main sources of energy for modern use.
All of these fuels are classified as fossil fuels. The reason they are called fossil fuels is
because they are all made from decayed plants and animals that have been preserved in
the earths crust by pressure, bacterial processes, and heat. It takes millions of years for
these organisms to chemically change into fossil fuels.
1. Obtain an empty bottle, a balloon, and an Alka-Seltzer (one if it is a large
tablet, two if they are small).
2. Fill the bottle about two-thirds full of water.
3. Stretch out the balloon by pulling on it, and blowing it up a little.
4. Put the Alka-Seltzer into the bottle and quickly put the balloon over the
5. Watch the Alka-Seltzer and balloons to see what happens to them.
6. Answer the questions below.
7. Pour the water down the drain, and throw away the bottle and balloon.
What do you notice happens when you put the Alka-Seltzer into the water?

What happened to the balloon?

What do you think caused the balloon to do what it did?

The research for this assignment came from:

Fossil Fuel Worksheet Key

1. The Alka-Seltzer started to dissolve and produce gas bubbles.
2. The balloon started to inflate.
3. Gases from the dissolving of the Alka-Seltzer caused the balloon to inflate.