For teacher Bob Smith, there's no reason why his students' brain power can't help move them forward — literally.
Students at the small East Burke High School in rural Connelly Springs, North Carolina, are taking the chemistry lesson out of the lab by turning used cooking oil into bio-diesel.
In the past year, the students have made over 90 gallons of fuel from the used food product, which the local school district uses to power school buses.
It's a simple process, according to high school senior Ethan Hull, who explains how the students make the fuel.
"We start with used cooking oil. All we do is pour it into our reactor. From there we're gonna add methyl oxide, which all it does is react it. After that, we have bio-diesel and a waste material. We add water to that, just to remove all the waste," Hull told Fox News.
"From there, we still have water, so we add it to a dryer, and that adds heat and evaporates all the water. And from there it's ready to put in the bus."
For teacher Bob Smith, the lesson allows students to experience chemistry with a hands-on approach, rather than reading it from a textbook. Smith, who encourages his students to pursue careers in science and engineering, also believes the project will help students develop self-confidence and poise.
Smith also hopes to "demonstrate the use of bio-diesel in school buses to support President Obama's energy plan. We've invited him to East Burke high school, and we're hopeful that he'll join us this year."
Fox News' Jonathan Serrie contributed to this report.