Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute (INDI)
Material Type:
High School
  • Fuel Cell Car
  • Nanotechnology
  • License:
    Public Domain Dedication
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Fuel Cell Car: Use Water for Energy! A lesson in Cell Respiration, Energy Flow, Photosynthesis

    Fuel Cell Car: Use Water for Energy! A lesson in Cell Respiration, Energy Flow, Photosynthesis


    This lesson will expose Biology students to mechanisms of energy by using a wind turbine demonstration and a fuel cell car student lab.  Fuel Cell kits will need to be purchased for this activity.  


    Biology Standards:

    • HS-LS1-2. Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms 

    • HS-LS1-7. Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy 

    • HS-LS1-5. Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy. 

    Learning Objectives

    • Students learn that semi-permeable membranes (with NanoScale pores and  holes) and compartments are key structural components for harnessing energy in technology devices and in cells. 

    • Students learn that energy can be found in unexpected places, in everyday objects, however, it requires sophisticated engineering to make it useable. 


    Bellwork writing prompt:  What are the different ways that humans harness energy from water?  Do you think that water gives humans energy? Do cells use water for energy?  Explain your answer. 

    Demo:  Handheld Windmill turbine lighting up LED with class discuss 


    Fuel Cell 10 Car Activity to learn about energy, compartments, semi-permeable membranes… 


    Exit ticket: Write out two things that you think you understood about the fuel cell technology.  What do you not understand? 


    This learning module was created by Erik P, a participant in Indiana University-Purdue University’s NSF-Funded “Nanotechnology Experiences for Students and Teachers (NEST)” Program (Award # 1513112).