by Kerstin Pritchard, University Of Vermont

An interactive WebQuest, pertaining to the timely issue of Peak Oil.

Teacher Introduction

Peak Oil is an issue that we are going to hear about more and more. Everywhere we turn, we hear people talking about "Greening Up". Bottom line is that we need to teach students to be careful stewards of the planet, and this web quest is a dramatic and interactive introduction to a topic that is subject to much debate.

The role playing exercise is designed to show students the extremes of the peak oil debate. They will be looking through many sources and out of this material they must reach consensus about how to make changes.

The various assignments and assessments give students multiple ways to explore the issue. I want them to interact with real people, as in the World Without Oil virtual reality game. By having students reach out to the actual politicians with their letters to the mayor and to the Free Press, and by having them attend an actual peak oil forum, they hit the ground running with a project that takes them out into the real world with a real problem. You may want to see if there are local peak oil forums in your area. I bet there are! There certainly are quite a few here in Vermont.

As someone pointed out to me, even if students did not want to watch The End of Suburbia or purchase the DVD, the short You Tube clip on the student's intro page is pretty provocative on its own, but ideally I would show the film to the class as a whole during classtime.

This webquest can be adapted as a  teacher sees fit. Some of the resources biased, but in this context they are being used to stir debate.

Ideally this is a 9-12 High School Social Studies project, but can also be used in a science or economics course.

The time frame of the unit can be modified to 3-5 weeks.


The official game World Without Oil has ended. The website now offers lesson plans for teachers in middle and high school to conduct their own WWO simulations. The archives and blogs are still available. It would be fantastic for a class to conduct its own simulation.

Here is a link to the lesson plans.