Lesson Plan Overview

Oil Crisis:
Get Into The Game

How Bad Can It Get?

Life Is Starting To Change

Elasticity and Collapse

Oil Dependency
Among Nations

Food Without Oil


Preparation and Community

Lessons Learned

Your World Without Oil



Life Is Starting To Change

As the oil crisis continues, widespread changes are starting to occur. Resources that were getting expensive are now becoming unavailable. Airlines are cutting flights, outages are beginning at local gas stations, people are being laid off and stores are closing. The changes are occurring most rapidly and severely to those goods and services that depended the most on cheap oil.

As you present developments in the oil crisis, ask the students to deal realistically with these developments in their own lives. As they try to anticipate what will happen next in the crisis, they will naturally explore the role that resources have in their lives.

Lesson Objectives
Students will:

Before the Lesson

Part 1: Set the Stage
Student Page for this lesson is here:
This page summarizes ideas and instructions for students.

  1. Re-immerse the students: briefly remind them of what's happened previously in a World Without Oil.
  2. Show three short videos:
  3. Have students read some or all of the following citizen reports about shortages:

Part 2: Take Action

Part 3: Lesson Activity
  1. Quickly review with the students the economic concepts of scarcity:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarcity 
    and opportunity costs:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opportunity_cost
  2. Have students create a chart on paper or on the computer with three columns - article title/topic, scarcity, and opportunity cost.
  3. In the small groups, apply the concepts to some or all of the citizen reports from the first part of this lesson.  You might want to walk students through this process with one of the articles or with a relevant example from your own life. For example, you might put "gasoline for my Ford Explorer" in the first column, "no gasoline today" and "regular $6.79 a gallon" and "20 gallon limit STRICTLY ENFORCED" in the second column, and "no more driving to my friend's house" and "no more money for premium cable" in the third column.
  4. When finished, each group should share their findings.  As a class discuss how the lack of oil has become a significant market force.  During this session, direct students to consider the choices they will have to make in the coming days.  Plus, how will their choices affect others - locally and nationally?  Are they looking out primarily for themselves or the community as a whole?
Part 4: Reflect
Life is definitely changing for everyone in a World Without Oil.  Students should focus their reflections on what commodities might become more scarce and what choices they will have to make as resources are depleted. Use the following questions to help guide their reflection:

Part 5: Take It Further
Distribute this to your students:

Now that we are starting to feel the impact of crisis, it is time to start making some real world changes.  To take it further today, you are being challenged to take on one or more of the WWO Missions.

Make sure to record your feat on your blog, using photographs, drawings, or video to help illustrate your accomplishment.  Good luck!

Additional Resources

Lessons Overview
Independent Lens Electric Shadows Independent Television Service Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ken Eklund, Writerguy
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National Standards (McREL)

Overarching (All Lessons)

Standard 44.
Understands the search for community, stability, and peace in an interdependent world

Level IV (Grades 9-12), Benchmark 2:
Understands rates of economic development and the emergence of different economic systems around the globe (e.g., systems of economic management in communist and capitalist countries, as well as the global impact of multinational corporations; the impact of black markets, speculation, and trade in illegal products on national and global markets; patterns of inward, outward, and internal migration in the Middle East and North Africa, types of jobs involved, and the impact of the patterns upon national economies; the rapid economic development of East Asian countries in the late 20th century, and the relatively slow development of Sub-Saharan African countries)


Lesson 1: Specific Standards


Standard 1: Understands that scarcity of productive resources requires choices that generate opportunity costs

Level IV, Benchmark 1: Understands that marginal benefit is the change in total benefit resulting from an action, and marginal cost is the change in total cost resulting from an action

Standard 3: Understands the concept of prices and the interaction of supply and demand in a market economy

Level IV, Benchmark3: Understands that changes in supply or demand cause relative prices to change; in turn, buyers and sellers adjust their purchase and sales decisions


Standard 18: Understands global development and environmental issues

Level IV, Benchmark 1: Understands the concept of sustainable development and its effects in a variety of situations (e.g., toward cutting the rain forests in Indonesia in response to a demand for lumber in foreign markets, or mining the rutile sands along the coast of eastern Australia near the Great Barrier Reef)


State Standards (All Lessons)