Death to diesel

Death to diesel


Major car manufacturers have fitted software to diesel cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests. In this activity students use their knowledge of chemical reactions to predict the products of combustion in a diesel engine. They then develop their communication skills by drafting a video (using supplied character cut-outs on lolly sticks) to persuade car buyers not to buy diesel cars.


Learning objectives

  • Types of Reaction:  Predict the products of the combustion of a given reactant and show the reaction as a word equation
  • Communicate ideas:  Know how to make it clear, concrete, correct and coherent

    Blueprint curriculum link

    • Unit: Matter & energy
    • Concept: Combustion: Fuels burn when heated in a type of reaction called combustion. It is highly exothermic and produces carbon dioxide and water
    • Skills: Speak: Speak effectively
    • Learning stage: Acquire

     Activity contents

    • Teachers guide
    • PowerPoint file

    The activity is delivered as a zip file. After you checkout, you will be sent an email with the link to download it.


    Update Nov 2015: More cars with cheat tests

    Information on the effect of air pollution on life expectancy.

    Driving away from Diesel

    Teacher background knowledge; Government report with recommendations to reduce nitrogen dioxide pollution from diesel.

    Live Science article

    This article poses the question: why is it so hard to make clean diesel cars?

    EPA information

    Article describing some health impacts of exposure to diesel engine emissions.

    Clean air in London

    A report on efforts to quantify the health effects of nitrogen dioxide on Londoners.

    Guardian newspaper report

    Information on the effect of air pollution on life expectancy.