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Modeling and Comparing Fossil Fuel and Biofuel Combustion

kit #38

Students should understand the costs and trade-offs of various decisions. In Part A of this activity, students use LAB-AIDS® Molecular Models to build methane, ethanol and octane molecules then "combust" them with oxygen molecules. "Combusting" the model molecules helps students determine the balanced chemical equations for the combustion reactions and compare the amount of carbon dioxide released when these three fuels are burned. In Part B students use standard bond energies to calculate and compare the amount of energy released during the combustion reactions they modeled in Part A. They are then asked to use their data about the energy released and the CO2 produced to choose which fuel they think is better.
Each Kit No. 38 provides materials for 12 student teams of 2-3 students. Each Kit No. 38EL provides enough materials for additional team.


  • Chemical reactions that release energy, such as the burning of fuels, occur all around us
  • A specific chemical reaction results in consistent and unavoidable products
  • The physical and chemical properties of compounds, such as stored energy, are related to the structure of the molecule
  • Decisions about new research and technology, such as those related to energy issues, involve assessment of alternatives, risks, costs, and benefits

Content List in Modeling and Comparing Fossil Fuel and Biofuel Combustion is as follows:

Quantity Description
1 Teacher’s Guide
28 Student Worksheets and Guides
12 LAB-AIDS® Molecular Modeling sets containing: 10 Carbon atoms (black sphere with 4 pegs), 20 Hydrogen atoms (white cylinder with 1 pegs), 26 Oxygen atoms (blue cylinder with 2 pegs), 45 Covalent bonds (white tube)
Number of students
Number of groups
Maximum 12 groups per period

To complete this kit requires one ~50-minute class period.

Title Item # Price Quantity
Modeling and Comparing Fossil Fuel and Biofuel Combustion 38 $175.05
ADD A GROUP for Modeling and Comparing Fossil Fuel and Biofuel Combustion 38EL $29.10