For Teachers


Teachers will find many useful links and information on the Education Resources page and on the Grants page.  In addition, Advanced Biofuels USA has prepared PowerPoint presentations available in the Biofuels Basics section on the PowerPoint Presentations page.

This page provides links and information about  a sample of programs and activities in schools; stories about teachers and students who "learned by doing;" and news reports about educational activities.

For more examples, click on categories such as Education and Teacher Resources along the right margin of the web site. And, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter.


Network, Share, Collaborate

Advanced Biofuels USA is gathering contact information for educators around the world who are working on curriculum-based educational materials to teach about advanced biofuels.  If you or someone you know is working on such materials--or wants to, please provide us with contact information and the reason you/they want to be a part of this network.  Let us know what sorts of materials or services this collaborative network might provide that would be useful for developing quality, effective, up-to-date educational materials.  Email us at info@advancedbiofuelsUSA and put Educational Network in the subject line.


The Bioenergy and Bioproducts Education Programs (BBEP)   (formerly Northeast Bioenergy & Bioproducts (NBB) Programs)

Based at Cornell University, Bioenergy & Bioproducts Education Programs provide professional development and hands-on teaching tools for educators (grades 6 - 16 in service and pre-service teachers and extension educators) who want to learn and teach about the Bioenergy and Bioproducts systems currently in use and under development in the United States. Through the collaborative efforts and expertise of six institutions of research and higher learning, this program aims to inspire today's students to pursue careers in math and science by aligning concern for the natural environment with the emerging bioenergy and bioproducts industries.  READ MORE


Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers

SSEAT Academies provide teachers with an opportunity to take part in a week-long professional development course behind-the-scenes at Smithsonian museums and other world class research facilities throughout the greater Washington, DC area.

Since 2005, the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) has held summer academies, Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs). The SSEAT Academies provide teachers with an opportunity to take part in a week-long professional development course behind-the-scenes at Smithsonian museums and other world class research facilities throughout the greater Washington, DC area. The academies help to bridge the gap between the formal science education programs of the SSEC and the informal science education that exists throughout the Smithsonian, and combine training in science pedagogy with content presented by scientists and researchers who are experts in their fields.

Recent topics of the SSEATs include Biodiversity, Energy’s Innovations and Implications, Earth’s History and Global Change, and Space Science. Each SSEAT academy engages 20-30 teachers from grades K–12 over a week. Each day, participants engage in carefully selected science experiences directly related to concepts addressed in the content and pedagogical training, and guided by scientists, curators, and educators from a variety of facilities including the Smithsonian. The goals and design of the academy align with the Smithsonian’s goals and the Smithsonian’s Strategic Plan for Science. The Smithsonian Institution strongly supports the initiative, which it sees as complementing its education outreach work of promoting and providing a framework for the participation of their staff in the professional development of teachers.

  • Learn from distinguished guests such as world-renowned NASA scientific illustrator Sally Bensusen
  • Participate in hands-on activities that translate directly into the classroom using a variety of resources, including Smithsonian Science for Global Goals curriculum
  • Tour state of the art facilities such as the Harvard College observatory or get a behind-the-scenes look at Smithsonian museum

The Smithsonian Science Education Center is proud to offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for our Academies through Virginia Commonwealth University. The VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education offers opportunities for personal and professional development as well as custom training solutions, logistical support and skills training in negotiation and mediation. Take the next step at:

* Not all academies are offered every year. Please see here to see which academies will be offered this year.   READ MORE


National Council for Science and the Environment

NCSE has established a range of programs to increase the number, quality and diversity of people capable of bringing science to bear on the critical environmental challenges facing our society. These include the:

  • EnvironMentors Program EnvironMentors is a science education and national college access program with a mission to mentor and motivate high school students from communities underrepresented in the sciences as they plan and conduct environmental research and acquire skills that will allow them to build careers and become more active stewards of their communities and the environment. EnvironMentors chapters are located around the country and are hosted through partnerships with universities and educational based nonprofit organizations. Since 1992, the program has paired over 2,000 high school students with mentors through its network of chapters throughout the country.
  • NCSE Alliance of Sustainability and Environmental Leaders The NCSE Alliance of Sustainability and Environmental Academic Leaders (NCSE Leaders’ Alliance) brings together over 100 deans, directors, and academic leaders of environmental and sustainability departments, programs, and schools from all NCSE Members. Participation in the NCSE Leaders' Alliance provides a valuable peer network for academic leaders to improve the quality and effectiveness of environmental and sustainability higher education programs, research, curricula, and workforce development.

    Formerly known as the NCSE Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) and the NCSE Community College Alliance for Sustainability Education (CCASE), the NCSE Leaders’ Alliance now captures both CEDD and CCASE and includes the expansion of academic leaders beyond deans and directors as the landscape of sustainability education has continued to evolve and grow. Each NCSE Member is invited to select two deans, directors, and academic leaders to represent their institution on the NCSE Leaders’ Alliance. The NCSE Leaders’ Alliance provides input and perspective on priorities of NCSE Members and advances the quality and effectiveness of interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability education and scholarship.

    Current Membership Benefits

    • Participate in the NCSE Alliance of Sustainability and Environmental Academic Leaders (NCSE Leaders' Alliance), a group for deans, directors, and academic leaders to connect with peers on a range of issues in higher education. 
    • Attend the NCSE Annual Conference with select complimentary registrations and unlimited discounted registrations.
    • Engage with local governments and support students to navigate the science-policy interface.
    • Lead and participate in Communities of Practice, technical working groups that support and amplify education, research, and analysis from higher education institutions.
    • Access to NCSE Higher Education Research Reports for analysis of national trends in environmental and sustainability education and research to help institutions innovate. 
    • Receive exclusive communications that shares tangible tools for science to engage in environmental decision-making, such as NCSE Pathways and a members-only email list.
    • Attend in-person and virtual events and webinars that convene scientists, thought leaders, and decision-makers.
  • Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) fosters interdisciplinary collaboration among academic energy leaders and advances education, research and communication to ensure a sustainable energy future.
  • Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation and E-Learning CAMEL is a FREE, COMPREHENSIVE, INTERDISCIPLINARY, MULTI - MEDIA RESOURCE for educators, providing over 300 interdisciplinary topic areas and numerous resource types to give the educator the tools they need to teach CLIMATE CHANGE causes, consequences, solutions and actions. The educator is able to create courses, textbooks, administer exams & surveys, invite others and collaborate around teaching materials, strategies and assessment. CAMEL was created by the National Council for Science and the Environment with funding from the National Science Foundation. The project will help prepare faculty to teach about climate science and solutions; developing a cyber-infrastructure built upon NCSE’s Encyclopedia of Earth ( which provides public access to continually expanding and improving scientific resources.  READ MORE

National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project

Started in 1980, The National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project began as a one-day celebration of energy education when National Energy Education Day was recognized by a Joint Congressional Resolution. In the same year, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation stressing the need for comprehensive energy education in our schools, a reduction in our dependence of fossil fuels, and increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy technologies. Since its founding 40 years ago, NEED has kept its Kids Teaching Kids philosophy as a fundamental principle of NEED programming – encouraging students to explore, experiment, engage, and encouraging teachers to embrace student leadership in the classroom. NEED trains and assists teachers in harnessing the energy of the classroom – the energy of students.

NEED is expanding and evolving to best meet the needs of both teachers and students – in the classroom and beyond.  In just the last decade The NEED Project has grown to encompass a curriculum portfolio of 100+ teacher and student guides designed to engage and teach teachers and students about energy. At the same time, the training opportunities offered by NEED expanded to include a variety of teacher professional development and training for educators and school district energy personnel as well. NEED’s work in after school programs, student clubs, scouting groups, and home school networks also continues to grow.


Growth Energy and National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) High School Biofuels Curriculum

The curriculum is the first industry-supported biofuels curriculum that provides students a guided in-classroom experience and will offer agricultural educators the tools needed to provide students with an array of technical skills and historical knowledge in biofuels.

Agricultural educators considering including this curriculum into their lesson plan for the semester will have access to a number of resources to help supplement the activities provided within the curriculum. These include helpful presentation slides on the history, technology, and policy that make biofuels important for the rural economy, and assessment tools that educators can use to assess and track student progress. Additionally, each activity concludes with a short self-assessment meant to encourage discussion and identify key takeaways that students can reflect on. The curriculum can be downloaded here.


ExploraVision Science Competition K-12

ExploraVision is a science competition that encourages K-12 students of all interest, skill and ability levels to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. All inventions and innovations result from creative thinking and problem solving. That's what ExploraVision is all about.  READ MORE

Ethanol 101

Basic information about ethanol from "Let's Clear the Air."  READ MORE

University of Idaho 4-H

The University of Idaho’s Biodiesel Education Program has released curriculum designed to help students between the ages of eight and 12 understand the concepts of energy and renewable energy. While the free seven-lesson program was written for 4-H clubs, the Biodiesel Education Program stresses it is also appropriate for use by elementary school teachers.

The curriculum features several hand-on activities, including a matching game, a fossil fuels timeline and a renewable energy model. Other components of the program include an energy tour and viscosity wands.

The program includes two parts, a student workbook and an instructor’s manual. The student workbook contains lessons titled “What is Energy,” “Liquid Fuels as Energy Sources,” “Fossil Fuels,” “Renewable Energy,” “Vegetable Oil and Animal Fat as Sources of Energy,” “How is Biodiesel Made and Used,” and “Scientists and Engineers.”  READ MORE and MORE

Energy Curriculum for Ages 8-12 (University of Idaho)
University of Idaho Videos
Video: Production of Biodiesel From Vegetable Oil (Omaha Biofuels Coop/Metropolitan Community College)


Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest Educational Materials

Providing pathways for education and future bioenergy careers is an important aspect of the AHB project.  We realize that the work you do with youth helps shape their outlook, actions, and possible career choices.  Knowing about viable energy alternatives now and for the future empowers youth to examine their current understanding and discover what tomorrow holds.

Educator Resources
AHB provides informative activities for elementary, middle, and high school students to learn how bioenergy and bioproducts can play an important part in their world.  Chemistry, engineering, and biology are brought together to develop student’s understanding of sustainable energy options and spur their interest in renewable energy careers. READ MORE

This series of lessons was created by Oregon State University (OSU), for more information please visit the OSU website.

These lessons encompass the topics of bioenergy, biofuels, carbon impacts and life-cycle analysis. Additionally, the lessons meet Next Generation Science Standards. The activities range in time from 30 to 50 minutes. Some of them require more than one class period.

Middle School Activities

Growing Bioenergy




Carbon Impacts



High School Activities

Ethanol Lessons and Labs

Ethanol-Blended Fuels:  This curriculum on ethanol and its use as a fuel was developed by the Clean Fuels Development Coalition in cooperation with the Nebraska Ethanol Board. This material was developed in response to the need for instructional materials on ethanol and its effects on vehicle performance, the environment, and the economy.

A Life-Cycle Assessment of Biofuels: Tracing Energy and Carbon Through a Fuel-Production System

A life-cycle assessment (LCA) is a tool used by engineers to make measurements of net energy, greenhouse gas production, water consumption, and other items of concern. This article describes an activity designed to walk students through the qualitative part of an LCA. It asks them to consider the life-cycle costs of ethanol production, in terms of both energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. In the process, they trace matter and energy through a complex fuel-production system. This sample chapter also includes the Table of Contents, Introduction, and Index. By Sara Krauskopf. READ MORE


Growing Algae for K-12

This video looks at the basics for getting started on growing algae at home or in the classroom. It’s part of a series geared towards teachers and students, but can be used by anyone to grow algae with easily available and inexpensive equipment.  WATCH VIDEO


Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

The materials on the Education Page were developed by teachers and professional educators associated with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center with input from scientists. Many of the techniques described are the same, or closely mimic those conducted by researchers within the Center, with adaptations made as necessary to work within the constraints of the K-16 classroom. Clicking on the title of some activities will bring up a one page overview.  Click on the activity image to preview and page through the activity before you download it. Click on a "package" to download a zip file containing all listed materials.  READ MORE

Investigation | High School, Undergraduate 
This mini fermenter can be used to conduct small-scale fermentation investigations or demonstrations similar to research done by GLBRC scientists.
Agriculture, Biology, Engineering, Environmental Science

Investigation | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

This activity examines how soil microbes, such as bacteria and fungi, are involved in carbon cycling. Students design experiments to explore the relationship between microbial respiration rates and soil variables.
Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physical Science
Investigation | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate
Students collect samples that they predict will contain communities of cellulose-degrading microbes and test for the ability of microorganisms in their samples to break down pure cellulose (filter paper).
Agriculture, Biology, Engineering, Environmental Science

Bioprospecting for Cellulose-Degrading Microbes: Individual Isolate Method

Investigation | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

Students investigate locations they believe harbor cellulose-digesting microbes, collect samples, isolate them on selective media, and screen them for cellulase activity.

Agriculture, Engineering


Biofuels vs Fossil Fuels Unit

Unit | Middle School, High School

The Biofuels vs Fossil Fuels unit has students explore the similarities and differences between fossil fuels and biofuels. In the process, students investigate the carbon-transforming processes of combustion, photosynthesis, fermentation and respiration.

Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Environmental Science


CB2E: Converting Cellulosic Biomass to Ethanol

Investigation | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

In this flexible lab sequence, students convert cellulosic biomass sources, such as sawdust, straw, or cardboard into sugars and then ethanol.

Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physical Science


Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101

Stand-Alone Activity | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

This activity asks students to begin to consider the life cycle energy and carbon dioxide emission costs of gasoline, corn ethanol and cellulosic ethanol.

Agriculture, Engineering, Environmental Science


The Bioenergy Farm Game

Stand-Alone Activity | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

In this board game, players take on the role of bioenergy crop farmers trying to earn a living while being good environmental stewards.

Agriculture, Biology, Economics, Environmental Science, Social Studies


The Biofuels Story - Classroom Version

Stand-Alone Activity | Middle School, High School

The materials provided here provide a way to launch a study of biofuels. We recommend that you tell the story of biofuels and post a story wall in your classroom.

Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Economics, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Social Studies


The Biofuels Story - Prezi

Stand-Alone Activity, Video | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate, Nonformal

This short interactive presentation introduces why GLBRC is researching making biofuels from non-food crops and traces the key steps in the production of biofuels from different plant materials. The presentation also explores the differences between biofuels and fossil fuels' role in the carbon cycle.

Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Economics, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Social Studies

Quantitative Modeling of Biofuels Life Cycles

Stand-Alone Activity | High School, Undergraduate

This activity allows students to compare the net energy and/or net greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted during the life cycle production of ethanol from switchgrass, diverse prairie and corn stover.

Engineering, Environmental Science


Exploring Energy Transformation in Plants

Investigation | Middle School, High School

In this set of activities, students investigate how plants harness and use different sources of energy during germination and growth. Students ask questions, make predictions, and then plan and carry out investigations using Wisconsin Fast Plants® to collect evidence to test predictions and construct scientific arguments.

Agriculture, Biology, Environmental Science


Root Depth Model

Stand-Alone Activity | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

In this activity, raffia ribbon is used to create a visual representation of the differing root depths in biofuel crops and prairie plants. The wall hanging can be used to promote discussion about plants’ ability to sequester carbon and contribute to soil carbon.

Agriculture, Biology, Environmental Science


Poker Chip Model: Global Carbon Pools and Fluxes

Stand-Alone Activity | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate, Nonformal

This activity helps students visualize and model a commonly published diagram of global carbon pools and fluxes. Students create a scaled 3-D visual of global carbon pools and net fluxes between pools with anthropogenic influences.

Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Physics


Field Investigations: Biomass Yield and Root Growth in Crops

Investigation | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

This field investigation serves to strengthen student understanding of the ability of plants to sequester carbon above and below ground. Students will measure above ground biomass by harvesting small samples, and root growth using ingrown root-cores.

Agriculture, Biology, Environmental Science


Field Investigations: Bug Biodiversity and Ecosystem Benefits

Investigation | Elementary, Middle School, High School, Undergraduate, Nonformal

In these field investigations, students explore the effects of biofuel crop production on invertebrate diversity and the effects those organisms have on pollination rates and weed seed predation.

Agriculture, Biology, Environmental Science


Global Energy Flows

Stand-Alone Activity | High School, Undergraduate, Nonformal

Biology, Earth Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Physics


Investigating Fuel Sustainability

Stand-Alone Activity, Unit | Middle School, High School, Undergraduate

In this set of lessons, students explore the meaning of the term sustainability and then investigate and evaluate the sustainability of different transportation fuels, eg. gasoline, biofuel, or electricity. In the process they research the steps required to produce and use different fuels and tally associated environmental impacts.

Agriculture, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Economics, Engineering, Environmental Science, Physical Science, Physics, Social Studies


Data Dive: Comparing Bioenergy Crop Yields

Stand-Alone Activity | High School

Can perennial biomass crops compete with king corn? In this GLBRC Data Dive, students analyze and interpret data on the biomass production of different bioenergy crops grown on Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) experimental farms in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Agriculture, Biology, Earth Science, Environmental Science


Data Dive: Boosting Yeast's Appetite for Sugars

Stand-Alone Activity | High School

Can microbiologists engineer new strains of yeast to produce more biofuel from the same amount of plant biomass? Students analyze results from a directed evolution experiment to create mutant yeast strains that can ferment all of the sugars in plant biomass.

Biology, Engineering, Environmental Science


U.S. Department of Energy Resources

From Biomass to Cellulosic Ethanol: Genomics for Alternative Fuels (Infographic)

Part 1: From Biomass to Cellulosic Ethanol. Depicts the process used to convert biomass (plant matter) into cellulosic ethanol and the improvements needed to optimize these processes.

Understanding Biomass: Plant Cell Walls (Infographic)

Part 2: Understanding Biomass: Plant Cell WallsExplains plant cell-wallstructure and some issues preventing their efficient conversion to ethanol


Carbon Time: Transformations in Matter and Energy

Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) is a science education program that includes publicly available teaching units, assessments, teacher professional development, and teacher networks based in local education agencies. Since 2015, 145 teachers and over 25,000 students from across the U.S. have participated in Carbon TIME. Evidence demonstrates that participating students achieve challenging three-dimensional learning goals consistent with NGSS.

The teaching units, designed for middle and high school science classes, focus on processes that transform matter and energy at multiple scales:

  • Cellular and atomic molecular: combustion, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, digestion, and biosynthesis
  • Organismal: growth and metabolism in plants, animals, and decomposers
  • Ecosystem: matter cycling and energy flow
  • Earth systems: carbon cycling and climate change

Carbon TIME units engage students in three-dimensional reasoning about these topics as questioners, investigators, and explainers.

Carbon TIME materials are developed by the Environmental Literacy Project at Michigan State University. The principal investigator is Charles W. (Andy) Anderson: andya@msu.eduREAD  MORE

Watch Videos about Carbon TIME

Carbon TIME Materials and Resources:  Curriculum UnitsAssessmentsLibrary of Educator ResourcesResearch

The Carbon TIME Library contains a variety of resources that are useful for teachers and are linked to units and professional development materials. They are listed below.

  1. Unit-specific resources. These resources provide overviews and information about the goals, organization, and research base for each unit.
  2. Cross-unit teaching tools. These resources include (a) student-facing tools or resources that are used in multiple units, and (b) teacher-facing explanations of how to use those tools.
  3. Recurring features and strategies. Including teaching routines, with rationales, key elements, and options.
  4. Professional development resources. Videos, handouts, etc., are used in PD modules.
  5. General resources. Resources explaining general approaches and strategies for Carbon TIME units, assessments, professional development, and research.


Ohio 4H Bioenergy Curriculum

A new curriculum has been created to strengthen our 4-H STEM effort. This new web-based resource will help our next generation of leaders develop an awareness and appreciation for a sustainable energy future. It is leader-directed curriculum, targeting 4-H Cloverbuds (K-2) and youth through 5th grade. It was created through Ohio’s 4-H Youth Development program and the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC).  The material consists of three bioenergy curriculum pieces in the content areas of 1) bioenergy sources, 2) bioenergy conversion, and 3) bioproducts.

Each curriculum piece contains about nine educational activities. Ohio State University Extension’s 4-H Cloverbud program is designed to meet the developmentally appropriate needs of children ages 5 to 8, or in kindergarten through the second grade. However, this curriculum is recommended for youth through fifth grade. The Cloverbud youth development program emphasizes overall well-being by empowering young children with successful learning and positive social interaction through cooperative learning in non-competitive environments.

The curriculum was developed with support from the Northeast Regional Sun Grant Initiative, with a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation: US DOT Assistance #DTOS59-07-G-00052.

Also, the STEM pathway challenges.  The challenge curriculum and a 4 to 6 minute informational video will prepare facilitators and engage youth through experiential learning.  The “Corny Polymer Balls” and “Natural Glue” activities are specifically related to bioproducts. The “Glucose Detective” activity could be adapted to use as a biofuel activity where youth test the sugar content of food products for use in biofuels rather than applying it towards diabetes.

Corny Polymer Balls

Natural Glue

Glucose Detective

Creative Discovery Museum’s Farming for Fuels program is a series of classroom education lessons presented through the Museum’s school outreach program, Museum-A-Go-Go. The program provides lessons by Museum outreach staff for Grades 4-7 on the scientific processes for creating biofuels from switchgrass rather than from corn.

Elementary School Lessons

Middle School Lessons

High School Lessons

Road Trip Challenge



AgEnergy Iowa

Our goal in creating these modules was to offer a one stop shop for agricultural energy modules that instructors can use in their classrooms.  In doing so, we did the heavy lifting of sifting through mounds of websites, research, and cutting edge technologies to bring you the information in an easy to understand format.  We made sure to create non-biased material that puts students in a position to make a decision about the agricultural energy that interests them most, or is most cost effective for their own farms.

We made sure to use PowerPoint so instructors could make changes to the presentations or re-brand them in a way they see fit.

This project was funded by the New Era Rural Technology Competitive Grants Program (USDA) which makes grants available to community colleges or advanced technological centers, located in a rural area, for technology development, applied research, and training necessary to produce graduates capable of strengthening the Nation’s technical, scientific and professional workforce in the fields of bioenergy, pulp and paper manufacturing, and agriculture-based renewable energy resources.  Although, focused on Iowa – these technologies cross all geographical regions.  READ MORE   Download Modules



The Ohio Soybean Council (OSC) and soybean checkoff sponsor a website to provide educators with a wide array of relevant classroom materials and direct access to industry partners.  The site was specifically developed to bring real-world situations into the classroom focused on chemistry, biology, biotechnology, environmental science and agriscience.

Our purpose at GrowNextGen is to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders for the changing industry that feeds the world.

GrowNextGen was launched in 2014 by a group of dedicated educators with funding from Ohio Soybean Farmers. We provide teachers with free, high quality STEM units and lessons that bring agriculture principles and practices into the classroom. With a primary focus on biology, chemistry, food science and environmental science standards, the site includes e-learning courses and a network of educators and industry leaders to answer questions and provide resources to support the lessons. We’re hoping to increase student interest in careers related to food productionCareer videos and discussion guides describing career pathways allow teachers to give students a look into multiple careers they might not have considered.    Connect with teacher leaders for one-on-one consultations.  READ MORE 


SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Programs for K-12 Teachers and Students

  • ESF in the High School is a school-college partnership program that enables qualified high school students to experience college-level course work and to understand the complex scientific and social perspectives behind news headlines.
  • The Environmental Summit is a research symposium designed to bring together a community of high school aged scientists to present and discuss their original research to their peers, college science faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.
  • The goals of National Science Foundation GK12 project are to enrich high school student science learning and engagement and to enhance teacher and graduate student professional development.
  • The Science Corps supports campus-based, in-school, workplace and field-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning and professional development experiences for middle and high school students and teachers.
  • ESF SCIENCE summer programs expose Syracuse middle school students to science and environmental education. Participants are involved in camps that emphasize urban ecology and urban ecosystems.
  • The Environmental Challenge is a science fair and career exploration opportunity designed especially for all Syracuse City School District seventh and eighth grade students.

Other programs include the Introduction Green Entrepreneurship course, the Environmental Summer Institute for Teachers, and the Sustainability and Green Entrepreneurship project.

Be sure to check out the Willow Biomass Energy education modules.


Sun Grant BioWeb

The Sun Grant BioWeb, an online resource that makes information available about bioenergy and other plant-based products from biomass, is reaching out to K-12 teachers who will teach the next generation of consumers and scientists.  Plans for the coming year for the Sun Grant BioWeb include adding a clearinghouse page about K-12 curricula available for teachersand others interested in the science of the emerging biobased economy can find the S

The concept of the Sun Grant BioWeb developed as one way to provide information for scientific researchers, policy makers, large- and small-scale industry, agricultural producers, and others who want to learn more about biomass research.  READ MORE


Using Biochar as a Soil Amendment

The University of Tennessee conversion team has created an education module that pertains to the use of biochar as a soil amendment. In this module, students will use biochar in an effort to determine what affect it has on the growth of various types of seeds. Students will plant seeds in the presence and absence of biochar and monitor the growth of the plants for a period of time. Comparisons in crop yield will demonstrate the effects of biochar as a soil amendment. The module is designed to align with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. This module is suitable for middle and high school students.  READ MORE  Download Module 


American Farm Bureau Foundation Classroom Resources

Each unit provides five, comprehensive, standards-based lesson plans and supporting resources. The middle school unit and eLearning experience are special projects of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, made possible by the generous support of Tri State Generation and Transmission Association.

The high school unit is a special project of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. The high-school unit introduces energy flow and challenges students to identify energy inputs for agricultural products. Students evaluate renewable energy sources, conduct a biodiesel lab and research farms using renewable energy. This unit was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to foster an appreciation for agriculture, reinforce STEM skills and abilities, and create an awareness of agriculture-related careers. For more information about the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, visit


Science from Scientists

A critical component of the Science from Scientists philosophy is the need to send real, charismatic scientists into the classroom, during school every-other-week for the entire school year. SfS has always been a during school program because we believe that every child should have the opportunity to be exposed to STEM, not just those in after school programs who are already interested, or whose parents sign them up.

Their goal is also to improve student attitudes towards STEM by providing, role-model scientists in the classroom who have other interests and hobbies, helping students to understand that scientists are often well-rounded individuals, not the stereotype frequently portrayed.  READ MORE  List of Lessons

Teach Engineering  --

Hands-on Activity: Corn for Fuel?!

In this activity, students examine how to grow plants the most efficiently. They imagine that they are designing a biofuels production facility and need to know how to efficiently grow plants to use in this facility. As a means of solving this design problem, they plan a scientific experiment in which they investigate how a given variable (of their choice) affects plant growth. They then make predictions about the outcomes and record their observations after two weeks regarding the condition of the plants' stem, leaves and roots. They use these observations to guide their solution to the engineering design problem. The biological processes of photosynthesis and transpiration are briefly explained to help students make informed decisions about planning and interpreting their investigation and its results. This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).READ MORE

Lesson: Biorecycling: Using Nature to Make Resources from Waste

By studying key processes in the carbon cycle, such as photosynthesis, composting and anaerobic digestion, students learn how nature and engineers "biorecycle" carbon. Students are exposed to examples, through the hands-on associated activities, of how microbes play many roles in various systems to recycle organic materials and also learn how the carbon cycle can be used to make or release energy. This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Environmental engineers mimic the natural carbon cycle in many processes, often designing systems that process carbon faster than would occur in nature. Anaerobic digestion (which turns human or food waste into methane gas) and biofuel production (such as fuels from corn, sugarcane and algae) are excellent examples of using the carbon cycle to generate energy from waste.  READ MORE

Lesson: Algae: Tiny Plants with Big Energy Potential

Students are introduced to biofuels, biological engineers, algae and how they grow (photosynthesis), and what parts of algae can be used for biofuel (biomass from oils, starches, cell wall sugars). Through this lesson, plants—and specifically algae—are presented as an energy solution. Students learn that breaking apart algal cell walls enables access to oil, starch, and cell wall sugars for biofuel production. Students compare/contrast biofuels and fossil fuels. They learn about the field of biological engineering, including what biological engineers do. A 20-slide PowerPoint® presentation is provided that supports students taking notes in the Cornell format. Short pre- and post-quizzes are provided. This lesson prepares students to conduct the associated activity in which they make and then eat edible algal cell models. This engineering curriculum aligns to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
Biological engineers apply their skills in and knowledge of math, biology, chemistry, mechanics and physics, and electronics to improve methods of agriculture, human and animal health, and energy production. Some biological engineers aim to reduce the use of fossil fuels by creating low-impact fuels from plants such as algae.  READ MORE


Let's Talk Science --  

Let’s Talk Science is committed to preparing Canadian youth for future careers and citizenship demands in a rapidly changing world. An award-winning, national, charitable organization, Let’s Talk Science has provided engaging, evidence-based STEM programs for more than 25 years at no cost for Canadian youth and educators. Through the generous support of our partners and donors, we are able to provide educators with opportunities to discover and use effective learning strategies to develop and strengthen students’ questioning and problem-solving skills; and offer experiential and digital programs that engage youth in meaningful STEM learning.

Algae Biofuel: Can Pond Scum Power the Planet?

Biofuels: An Alternative Energy Source

How is Ethanol Made?

What are the Pros and Cons of Ethanol Biofuel?

Plant Functions

Fueling Internal Combustion Engines

Plant Cell Structures and Functions


Next Generation Climate for Grades 6-8

Next Generation Climate is a six lesson, interdisciplinary, middle school climate change curriculum that has students investigate the cause of the global temperature change, research the major repercussions of climate change, and find out how they can monitor and minimize those repercussions. Next Generation Climate allows students to dive deep into graphs and data and practice the skills of argumentation and engineering design. This curriculum uses the Next Generation Science Standards as a framework and is also aligned to Climate and Energy Literacy standards.

Greenhouse Effect Game in Lesson 2 of Next Generation Climate curriculum

The Biome Meet and Greet Activity in Lesson 2 of Minnesota’s Changing Climate curriculum

Electricity Journey Activity in Lesson 2 of Experience Energy curriculum

All of our curricula have a Take It Outside component of each lesson, which can help inspire learning and keep students interested through the end of the school year. Download the free PDFs for step-by-step instructions on each activity.  READ MORE

Check out how the Lowell School changed their entire 6th grade humanities curriculum to be taught through the lens of climate change after partnering with Climate Generation in 2017.


GK-12 Program

KBS GK-12 BioEnergy SusTainability (BEST) Project: Using schoolyard research plots to grow ecological and energy literacies (Research Gate)

Moving beyond GK–12 (CBE Life Sciences Education)

Kellogg Biological Station’s GK-12 Program

In 2010, KBS representatives Getty, Anderson, Gross, Lau, Robertson, and Tinghitella were awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for a new GK-12 (Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education) Program called the KBS GK-12 Bioenergy Sustainability Project. You can find a slideshow overview and introduction to our project here and a summary here. This program is part of a national network of GK-12 sites funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with the common goal of providing science graduate students with skills that will broadly prepare them for their future careers, particularly communicating science with varied audiences. Through interactions with teachers and students in K-12 schools, graduate students are expected to improve communication and teaching skills while enriching science instruction in K-12 schools. 

Our GK-12 project has partnered with fifteen rural school districts in SW Michigan, all of whom are part of the ongoing K-12 Partnership at Kellogg Biological Station. In fall of 2010 we established a network of schoolyard research plots (see the BEST Research Network tab) at 22 schools in these 15 districts. The plots mimic those used at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center to conduct experiments testing the sustainability of bioenergy crops like switchgrass and native prairie. Students and teachers at our partner schools are asking the question “Can we grow our fuel and our flowers and butterflies too?"

Please contact program director Tom Getty ( or program manager Sarah Bodbyl ( for more information on the KBS GK-12 Bioenergy Sustainability Project.  READ MORE

Purdue Graduate School GK-12 Program

Open to graduate students (Masters and PhD), Post Docs and visiting scholars in any department at Purdue. GK-12 fellows volunteer to serve as "visiting scholars" at a local middle school (grades 7 and 8). Teachers, GK-12 fellows and the program coordinator work together to integrate research and new instructional approaches into classrooms. Fellows observe the classroom first, then by gradually co-teaching classes work up to teaching the lesson they developed as the primary teacher.  READ MORE


Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council   (BBSRC) Practical Biofuel Activities

The activities are provided to engage young people with the science and issues surrounding bioenergy and biofuels. The topics cover a range of areas in science and technology including: plant science, microbiology and chemistry.

They are provided inline with our strategic priorities which include bioenergy and industrial biotechnology.

Find the activity you are looking for from this content list:

Contents and introduction
Current biofuel activities
Advanced biofuel activities
Dry activities
Summary and links

Who should download these activities?

Researchers – To communicate and engage young people with the scientific principles and research in the fields of bioenergy and biofuels through practical activities.

Teachers – Many of the activities are suggested by exam boards to cover the knowledge, understanding or practical skills content required for GCSE, A-level or Higher examinations.

What is in the practical guide?

  • Background information on the science involved in the field of bioenergy and biofuels
  • Further information about current research
  • Practical activities:
    • Instructions
    • Learning objectives
    • Keywords
    • Suitable age ranges
    • Suggested prior knowledge
    • Approximate time needed
    • Extension activities
    • Curriculum links
  • Health and safety guidance
  • Supporting activities and resources
  • Supporting PowerPoint presentations
  • Further reading and weblinks


Contents and introduction (PDF 563KB)

You may need to download additional plug-ins to open this file.

Current biofuels

The activities found in this resource are:

  • Biogas
    Activity 1A – Biogas generator
  • Oil and Biodiesel
    Activity 1B – Oil extraction
    Activity 1C – Oil viscosity
    Activity 1D – Biodiesel production
  • Bioethanol
    Activity 1E – Extracting sugar from sugar beet
    Activity 1F – Carbohydrate testing
    Activity 1G – Yeast fermentation

Current biofuel activities (PDF 889KB)You may need to download additional plug-ins to open this file.

Advanced biofuels

The activities found in this resource are:

  • Lignocellulosic bioethanol
    Activity 2A – Plant material testing
    Activity 2B – Hydrolysis of biofuel feedstocks
    Activity 2C – Fermentation of lignocelluloses
  • Bacterial Biofuels
    Activity 2D – Bacterial cellulase
    Activity 2E – Cellulase enzyme activity
  • Algal Biofuels
    Activity 3A – Culturing algae
    Activity 3B – Algal photosynthesis
    Activity 3C – Algae chromatography

Advanced biofuels activities (PDF 997KB)You may need to download additional plug-ins to open this file.

Dry activities

The activities found in this resource are:

  • Recognition activities
    Activity 4A – Making biofuel molecules
    Activity 4B – Biofuel Feedstocks
  • Puzzles
    Activity 4C – Bioenergy Crosswords
    Activity 4D – Bioenergy Word searches
    Activity 4E – Bioenergy sentence loops

Dry activities (PDF 2.72MB)You may need to download additional plug-ins to open this file.

Summary and links

The contents found in this resource are:

  • Glossary
  • Key words
  • Further reading
  • Web links
  • Summarised curriculum links
  • Acknowledgments

Summary and links (PDF 731KB)You may need to download additional plug-ins to open this file.


These links are restricted to science subjects and refer to schemes of work or qualifications currently offered in the UK.


We wish to thank all the contributing researchers involved, who carried out the activities at science events and in schools as well as providing help and support in developing this guide, in particular Gary Wortley at the Institute of Food Research (now the Quadram Institute) for equipment and technical support, Alison Smith for the algal chromatography activities and Jen Bromley for developing the lignocellulosic ethanol activities.

Thanks also go to North Walsham High School, Acle High School and the East Norfolk Triple Science Network and their pupils for hosting these activities and to work experience pupils Lucy Handford and Joseph McKenzie for refining protocols.

The resource builds on the work of Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS), the Society of General Microbiology (SGM) and National Centre for Biotechnology Education (NCBE) and thanks go respectively to Daniel Jenkins, Dariel Burdass and Dean Madden for their input.


AIChE K-12 Resources for Parents and Educators

Learn more about what chemical engineers do and get new ideas on how to teach chemical engineering concepts to K-12 students.

K-12 Modules

A Bit of History: Articles about Students and Biofuels

Graduate Students and American Indian Tribes Work for Biofuel Solutions

March 14, 2008    In the midst of rising concern about energy sources, many are looking at local, waste-derived biofuels as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels.  Most biofuel in the United States is made from plants, such as corn, and carried across the country. Transporting biofuel has an environmental impact, and proponents of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy seek to eliminate this impact.   Eight University of Washington graduate students are working with local American Indian tribes on a research and education program about biofuels in the Bioresource-Based Energy for Sustainable Societies program. The research involves bioprocessing of cellulosic biomass, microscale chemical processing, fuel cells and forest biotechnology.   READ MORE 

Sears Tower Or Bust: My Algae-Powered Car Adventure

June 2, 2008  At Al Raby School for Community and Environment in Chicago, a Teach for America instructor instituted a yearlong biodiesel classroom project to create student understanding of the environment and the political impact of non-renewable energy sources. Students grew algae and processed it into biodiesel, eventually powering a vehicle from the school to Sears Tower and back, an approximately 20-mile round trip. Teachers reported that students invested time and energy into this work "because they cared and believed in it." READ MORE

Coast-to-Coast Biodiesel Pickup Project

Ross McCurdy:   I graduated from Rhode Island College with a degree in Biology and Science Teacher certification and began teaching at Ponaganset High School in 1998. In 2002 I received a Masters degree in Science Education and certification to teach Chemistry. Big advocates of renewable energy, in 2003 we created our fuel cell-powered band "Protium" and developed our Fuel Cell Systems course at Ponaganset High. The course focuses on fuel cells and other renewable energy and combines academics with hands-on projects. These include our ongoing Fuel Cell Model T project and our Biodiesel Pickup.    READ MORE


For more examples of school-based projects click on the Teacher Resources category and subscribe to our free monthly education newsletter.

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