“Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, primarily coal, fuel oil or natural gas, formed from the remains of dead plants and animals.”
Nonrenewable and renewable energy sources
“Coal, crude oil, and natural gas are all considered fossil fuels because they were formed from the buried remains of plants and animals that lived millions of years ago.”
The Hidden Cost of Fossil Fuels
“Fossil fuels-coal, oil, and natural gas-are America’s primary source of energy, accounting for 85 percent of current US fuel use. Some of the costs of using these fuels are obvious, such as the cost of labor to mine for coal or drill for oil, of labor and materials to build energy-generating plants, and of transportation of coal and oil to the plants. These costs are included in our electricity bills or in the purchase price of gasoline for cars.”
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[1-2] In this activity, students use cereals to explore the processes that led to the formation of sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels.
 Prepare the following items in advance (for each group in your class): 4 small plastic baggies, a large plastic bag (to protect against spills or tears), 2 clear plastic cups, ½ cup each of various cereals, 3 cups of chocolate cereal, three-fourths of a cup of coffee grounds, a measuring cup, a mixing bowl with spoon, water and a plastic spoon.
[Part I Title:] Modeling Rock Layers
 Using cereals to model rock layers. [Or just…] Modeling Rock Layers.
 First, setup your materials for each rock layer. To model the formation of “coal,” mix three cups of Cocoa Krispies and  three-fourths of a cup of ground coffee in a bowl.  Add three-fourths of a cup of water and toss lightly to mix.  Measure one-half cup of this mixture and place into a plastic baggie.  Seal and label accordingly.
 For the remaining layers, place one-half cup of Froot Loops,  Bran Flakes, and  Cheerios into separate sandwich bags.  Label them to type: Sandstone, Shale, and Sand Sediments, respectively.
FADE TO BLACK.
 Now we can model the foundations of rock. For the bottom layer of sediment, pour the bag of Cocoa Krispies and coffee into one of the plastic cups.  Draw what this material looks like in the student journal.
 Next, create a layer of sand by crushing Fruit Loops.  Pour on top of the bottom mixture. Add this layer to the drawing.
 Add shale sediments by crushing Bran Flakes and [18.1] pour over the sand layer. [18.2] As before, draw the rock layer.
 For the final formation, crush Cheerios cereal to model the sand that was blown into the area by wind.  Pour this last layer over the shale and add it to the drawing.
 That completes the rock layer model.
FADE TO BLACK.
 Students can now use the second cup to model the pressure it takes to form fossil fuels and sedimentary layers. Place a fist inside the empty cup, and  push down hard on top of the rock layer model.
Observe what happens to the bottom layer of the model, which contains the organic sediments.
 As a final exercise, illustrate what the layers look like after heat and pressure have been applied, and answer the remaining questions in the student journal.