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General Motors and Weekly Reader Release Classroom Curriculum on Energy and Environment Issues


New activities examine 100 years of evolving technology

General Motors and Weekly Reader are distributingan updated version of their middle school classroom curriculum, “The Energy Highway – Solutions Ahead,” which aims to help students understand the energy challenges facing society today and some of the potential solutions to those challenges. To commemorate GM’s 100 th anniversary, this year’s curriculum also features a new poster insert that explores noteworthy technologies of the last century as well as a look at future automotive technologies. The curriculum packet also includes a teacher’s guide with reproducible student activities, an additional classroom wall poster, and informational student/parent booklets. Online games for students are also available at

“As global energy demands continue to increase, GM is committed to doing its part to offer solutions by developing vehicles that can be powered by many different energy sources including E85 ethanol, diesel, electricity and hydrogen,” said Elizabeth A. Lowery, GM vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy. “Young people today have an opportunity to be part of the movement that develops solutions to these energy issues, and GM’s commitment to education in the areas of math, science and technology is aimed at encouraging them to be a part of that effort.”

Interest in environmental education is growing. A July 30, 2008, USA Today article, “Environmental Education Gets a Green Light,” reported that teachers are integrating lessons on the environment into their daily education plan. However, many teachers are not equipped with the tools necessary to effectively teach environmental education through textbooks. The Environmental Literacy Council noted in its 2007 report titled “Energy Literacy: Are Middle School Textbooks ‘Making the Grade’?” that most textbooks were judged as just “adequate” in energy-related education, hence, the need for supplemental materials.

“We partnered with General Motors to educate and inform students on must-know energy topics like alternative fuel sources and the impact of energy usage on the environment,” said Mary Ellen McLaughlin, publisher, Weekly Reader Custom Publishing. “Today’s middle school students are the energy consumers of the future. What they learn now can have a positive effect on the environment in the years to come.”

The Energy Highway: Solutions Ahead curriculum was created and well-received in its launch year (2007-08). Close to two-thirds of teachers that used the program reported that their students better understood the issues and challenges surrounding energy and were definitely more knowledgeable about the potential of using diverse and renewable energy resources.

GM and Weekly Reader have partnered in the past on other classroom curriculum focused on various environment and energy topics including fuel cells, hydrogen, and E85 ethanol. The middle school science curriculum package on E85 ethanol won a 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers. These other resources can be found at

Weekly Reader Custom Publishing is the recognized leader in developing unique educational programs sponsored by corporations, nonprofit associations and government agencies.


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