Scotland’s Curriculum – EVolution of vehicle sales

Resource produced in collaboration with MEI

Brief overview of session ‘logic’

  • Explore the infographic – what can be worked out from this information and what questions does it raise?
  • Look at trends in vehicle registrations
  • Look at proportions of types of newly registered vehicles over time – why has the percentage of petrol cars being registered increased from 2015 to 2020?
  • Do some calculations to show that the number of petrol cars being registered has decreased from 2015 to 2020.
  • Reflect upon the implications for misleading representations of data
  • Consider the implications of the ban on new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 – what affect will this ban have on the proportions of car types being registered?
  •  What questions does the increase in electric vehicles raise?

Mathematical opportunities offered

  • Interpretation of data, statistics, graphs, infographics in context
  • Critiquing graphs
  • Reading scales
  • Calculating percentages
  • Exploring proportions of quantities over time
  • Making conjectures about future proportions given available data
  • Analysing and comparing data in order to develop and present a conclusion.
Climate Change Quality Mark Content

Scotland’s Curriculum – Trees for Net Zero

Resource produced in collaboration with MEI

This resource comprises several stand-alone activities which may be used separately.

Brief overview of session ‘logic’

  • Why trees are good
  • People are planting trees – estimates around what the numbers look like in terms of land use
  • Some companies encourage you to offset flights by planting trees – how many trees for one flight?
  • How much carbon do trees capture and store?
  • How does the amount of carbon captured and stored by a tree change during its lifecycle?
  • What happens to that carbon when a tree dies?
  • Can you plant a tree to offset a flight?
  • What is Net Zero?

Mathematical opportunities offered

  • Estimation and proportional reasoning
  • Developing a sense of scale of large numbers
  • Interpretation of data, statistics, graphs, infographics in context
  • Critiquing graphs
  • Analysing and comparing data in order to develop and present a conclusion
  • Making assumptions
  • Making predictions
  • Reading scales
Climate Change Quality Mark Content

Scotland’s Curriculum Fourth Level Maths – Egypt’s Road Problem

In this resource linked to COP27 in Egypt, maths students apply pythagoras’ theorem to solving Egypt’s road building conundrum. 


The 2022 United Nations climate change conference (27th session of the Conference of Parties – COP27) will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, starting on the 7th of November.

In the introduction video screened at the end of COP26 in Glasgow, Egypt celebrates its road-building project. This resource explores efficient road designs and the climate impacts of car travel.



4 City square template

Created with support from MEI 

Section 1: Lesson Introduction

Show the Egypt introduction video from COP26 and show them the pictures of new Egyptian roads.

Road-building clip only:

Or the full Egypt introductory clip: from 09:21-12:26 in

Ask students what comments or questions they have on the video: What do they wonder?

They could discuss in pairs or groups before giving feedback to the class.
You could steer the discussion towards some of the following points:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of building new roads?
  • What do you thing about building new roads compared to the other climate mitigation and adaptation projects mentioned in the video?
  • Roads for sustainable development: connecting cities and industry
  • Will a new road reduce traffic?
  • Building roads versus building railways/airports
  • How will building new roads impact greenhouse gas emissions?
  • Should houses be demolished to make way for new roads?
  • How should governments decide which new roads to build? How can we reduce travel time for the most people, reduce the length of the new road or reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from people travelling on the road?

The remainder of the lesson uses maths to explore the last point.

Section 2: Scenario motivation for the Steiner problem

This could be introduced as motivation for the Steiner problem, or as a real world application once the problem has been solved (after section 3).

One of the new roads connects Beni Suef and Zaafarana.

Together with the important cities of Cairo and Suez, this can be simplified and framed as an example of the famous ‘Steiner Problem’: 

Source: Google maps

Which looks a bit like:


Steiner problem

Section 3: Steiner Problem using a Square

To simplify the problem, start by investigating 4 cities in a square. What is the most efficient way to connect all the cities (using the shortest distance of road)? You need to be able to visit all the cities on the road network, but you can go via other cities.

This problem is also described here:

Students can use the sheet of squares (or squared paper) to draw as many different designs as they can think of, using curves and straight lines, or just straight lines.

Collect some ideas and ask students to calculate the total road distance required. For the square side length, you could use realistic road-distance numbers (eg 100km), simple numbers (eg 10, 1) or a symbol such as x. Students could first measure the distances using a ruler, then calculate them using Pythagoras’ theorem.

Help students to arrive at the optimal solution by considering the two designs below: Is there an intermediate design that would be even better?

Once students have arrived at the optimal solution, this video gives a good demonstration using soap bubbles:

Section 4: Context Calculations

At this point you could choose to start using realistic road distances or the fact that the cities are not in a square but are closer to a rectangle (see the first extension point below).

  • What is the total distance of the optimal network? How long would it take to travel between each city whilst travelling at the Egyptian motorway speed limit of 100km/hr? (
  • Assume that the roads connecting Beni Suef to Cario, Cairo to Suez and Suez to Zaafarana already exist. Which one new road should be built to reduce the travel time from Beni Suef to Zaafarana? What is the reduction in travel time?
  • Cars emit around 120 gCO2/km (
    By how much does the new road reduce the CO2 emissions of a journey from Beni Suef to Zaafarana?
  • Due to the shorter travel time, the new road might increases the number of journeys between Beni Suef and Zaafarana. How many extra journeys are needed to outweigh the decrease in emissions from the reduced distance?

Extension Ideas

  • Return to the introduction video at the end of the lesson. What do students think about building roads and climate change after completing the activity?
    • The 4 cities in Egypt are not in a perfect square, but are close to being in a rectangle. Does this change the optimal road network? This is discussed at
  • Students could use google maps to look at the real travel time between the 4 cities using different routes.
  • What happens when we consider more cities?
  • Can students think of other situations where this problem could apply? (gas pipelines, rail networks, broadband cables)
  • Think about the real-world practicalities that the Steiner solution doesn’t address. Is it the best solution if most journeys are between Cairo and Suez? Should existing roads be removed in order to build the most efficient network? Which journey times would be increased by this?
Climate Change Quality Mark Content

Storm Surges

Watch this short animation to learn about the causes and impacts of storm surges in the UK, as well as the expected impact of climate change on them. 

At the bottom of the page, you can download a Knowledge Organiser to complement the animation.

With thanks to the students and staff at Boston College for their contribution to the animation. 

Isaac Physics

Isaac Physics logo

A diverse range of questions based on applications of physics in weather and climate, including sea level rise, radar frequencies,  aerosols, oceanic circulation, tidal barrages etc. 

Isaac Physics is an online study tool developed by the University of Cambridge. Isaac Physics questions are self marking practice questions for secondary school and undergraduate scientists. 

Snowflake fall speed

Aerosol attenuation

Barometric formula

Concentration of Oxygen

Cooling Tree

Electric Car Electrics

Electric Charge of Earth

Hadley Cell

How much Rain?

Isotrope Concentrations and Ocean Circulation

Kite Heights

Radar Reflectivity Units

Radar wavelengths and frequencies

Earth radiation balance

Sea Level Rise

Temperature Records and Uncertainties

Tidal Barrage

Urban Heat Island

Wind Turbine

Wind Turbine Power

Mass of the Atmosphere

Maths for Planet Earth

Climate-based questions for students and teachers. A team of students and academics at the University of Oxford developed these Maths for Planet Earth questions.

Physics – Egypt’s Benban Solar Farm

In this resource linked to COP27 in Egypt, physics students explore renewable energy production.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognise that solar power is a renewable energy source of great value in Egypt
  • Describe the energy transfer in a solar cell
  • Evaluate the energy dissipated in the Benban solar farm
  • Calculate the cost of the energy produced using the formula cost = power (kW ) x time (hours) x price (per kWh).


In its acceptance speech at COP26, Egypt celebrated its renewable energy resources:

This is an extract from from 09:20

Egypt transitioned from the traditional energy sources to renewable, more sustainable and planet-friendly energy sources…

One of these resources is the huge Benban solar farm.

Lesson Introduction

Watch the relevant part of the COP26 plenary video and/ or

  • The Benban solar farm was supported by the Green Climate Fund. Contributions to the Green Climate Fund were one of the areas which didn’t make as much progress as was hoped at COP26 in Glasgow, 2021.
  • COP27 will be at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt in November 2022.
Benban - map
Benban map

images from google maps

Discussion points:

  • What is a renewable energy source?
  • Why is it important to develop renewable energy sources?
  • What is a solar cell and how is it different from a solar panel? Where have people seen solar cells/ panels?
  • What makes a location suitable for a huge solar energy farm? (space, sunshine, access for bringing the equipment in and getting the electricity out…)
  • Could we build such a huge solar park in the UK? (no, we don’t have a big desert, but you could research some UK solar farms)
  1. Use to compare the global horizontal irradiation where you live with that in Benban. (for Benban the value is given as 2366 kWh/m2).
    Global horizontal irradiation is the total amount of solar energy reaching a 1m2 horizontal surface on the ground in a year.

    Discussion point: What is a kWh? (if 1 kWh is the electrical energy converted by a 1 kW appliance used for 1 hour rephrase this in terms of electrical energy generation. See for more detail)

    Discussion point: So what is a kWh/ m2?

    Extension: Express this answer as a proportion or percentage

  2. Discuss: what is the initial store of energy and by what pathways is it transferred? (nuclear store in the Sun, energy is transferred by light from the Sun to the panel and is transferred electrically from the panel to homes and businesses)
  3. The size of the Benban solar farm is 37.2 km2. Calculate the total energy carried by the light arriving at the site.

    (37.2km2 = 37 200 000m2 so 2366 x 37 200 000 = 88,015,200,000 kWh = 88 015.2 GWh = 88.0TWh)

    Discuss: kilo, mega, giga, Tera etc.

  4. The estimated output from Benban is 3.8TWh. How much energy is not converted usefully?
    88.0-3.8 = 84.2TWh

    Extension – write this as a proportion or percentage
    Discussion – why so much? Solar panels don’t cover the whole of the ground, solar panels are actually less efficient when they get hot, you can see solar panels, so they must be reflecting some of the Sun’s light, not absorbing it all etc.)

  5. What is the current electricity price in your region? (see and scroll down for regional breakdown).
    What is the value of the energy the Benban solar farm will produce during COP27, which is scheduled to last 2 weeks (assume there are 52 weeks in a year)?

    (cost = power (kW ) x time (hours) x price (per kWh).
    So value = 3, 800, 000, 000 kWh x 2/52 x 28.34 = £41,420,000.

    Discussion – is that surprising?

    Why might the quantity of electricity produced actually be different? (We started with an annual value, but the seasons and the weather will actually have an impact on how much is produced in a given week).

verified climate education resources

KS3 Geography – Egypt’s Construction Problem

In this resource linked to COP27 in Egypt, geography students explore population growth, urbanisation and climate change. 


The 2022 United Nations climate change conference (27th session of the Conference of Parties – COP27) will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, starting on the 7th of November.

In the introduction video screened at the end of COP26 in Glasgow, Egypt celebrated its adaptations and mitigations to climate change. In this resource, students will explore population growth, urbanisation and the greenhouse gas emissions from the construction industry in Egypt.



Learning Outcomes

  • To understand what COP27 is
  • To describe how the population of Egypt has grown and is projected to grow in the future
  • To be able to interpret a population pyramid for Egypt and use that to explain Egypt’s changing population
  • To explain how the construction industry has an impact on the climate and what steps can be taken to reduce that impact.

Optimising Flight Times

flight path

Calculate the best flight time from A to B and reduce greenhouse gas emissions!

The table below represents a cross section through the atmosphere and gives wind speeds (in m/s) in boxes which are 200km long and 1km high.

Your task is to pilot an aircraft, which flies at 230m/s when it is flying in the less dense atmosphere higher than 5km, and 150m/s when it is flying in the more dense atmosphere lower than 5km, from A to B in the shortest time possible.

Remember, flying in the same direction as the wind increases your speed but flying against the wind slows you down.

Map your route on the chart below and then calculate the flight time!


  1. You take off from the ground at A and land on the ground at B.
  2. You can only climb, or descend, one box per 200km.
  3. Give your final answer in hours and minutes.
flight data

Some students may find the following table useful:

flight time table

UK Energy Mix

In this activity students use current data to investigate  the UK’s energy sources.

Go to and use the table and the key at the bottom of the page to complete the following table. This website shows you where the UK’s electric power is coming from and what the total demand (use) is and has been over the past year.

(1 GW = 1 000 000 000W)

energy source table
  1. In some of the boxes, you may see a negative number – what does that mean?
  2. What is the total net amount of power we are currently getting from France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway?
  3. For the power generated in the UK, highlight all renewable energy sources.
  4. What is the total amount of power we are currently generating from fossil fuels in the UK?
  5. Looking at the graph headed ‘yesterday’, when would have been the best time to charge an electric car, if you wanted to use as much renewable power as possible? Why?
  6. Looking at the graph headed ‘last year’ which season(s) have the most energy generated by solar energy?
  7. Which season(s) have the most energy generated by wind energy?


By looking at the total energy demand, and the production by wind energy, what can you deduce is the purpose of gas turbines?

Can you see any correlation between wind output and gas turbine output?

Opportunity for Group Work

Make a poster or presentation showing what you have learned.