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Teaching Integration using World Petroleum Consumption Data


As a high school or undergraduate Mathematics teacher, you can use this set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching introductory calculus (integration) and specifically how to solve integration equations.

This lesson plan will allow you to teach integration using a hands-on computer-based classroom activity that includes world petroleum consumption data from 1980 to 2016. This activity includes a set of inquiry-based questions that will enable your students to apply their understanding of the relationship between a function and its integral and to set up and solve equations with an integral to describe the trend of world petroleum consumption over time. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels such as petroleum have contributed towards global warming since the beginning of the industrial age. This lesson plan also includes a classroom resource to enable your students to understand about oil production projections such as the Hubbert’s Peak Theory and the global Carbon Budget to stay within a 2-degree Celsius warming scenario, as per the UN’s Paris Agreement.

Thus, the use of this lesson plan allows you to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in Mathematics.

Learning Outcome

The tools in this lesson plan will enable students to:

  1. Learn about integration and the relation between a function and its integral.
  2. Set up and solve integration equations to describe the trend of global oil consumption since 1980.
  3. Know the significance of the difference between the Hubbert’s peak prediction and actual US Oil production.
  4. Discuss the importance of the carbon budget to reduce global warming.


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