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Database Provider


National Geographic


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 1 minute, 16 seconds

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

What Are Fossil Fuels?

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  • This short video briefly shows students what fossil fuels are, how they were formed, and how human-caused greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change.
Teaching Tips


  • This is a short video that can be used for different grade levels, as it uses simple terms and phrases.
  • Students read the animated text and connect it to the images on the screen.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with nonrenewable and renewable energy sources.
  • You may need to pause the video for learners that can't see the screen easily or need more time to read the text.
  • There is an error in the text of the video at 0:45. The text states "However, burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes climate change." The text is missing the word "to."


  • Students can be asked to summarize the video in one paragraph or in a drawing.
  • The teacher can ask students to write down key words from the video and then define them from a dictionary.
  • Geography students can research the main sources of energy in their local area and country.
  • Science students can use this as a hook for lessons about the Carboniferous Period and about the importance of decomposers in ecosystems.
  • Other recommended resources include this opinion map showing Support for Making Fossil Fuel Companies Pay for Climate Damages and this interactive data showing Share of Primary Energy from Fossil Fuels.
Scientist Notes
This brief video resource explains what fossil fuels are, how they are formed, and what we use them for. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.6.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
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