Advanced Biofuels USA: promoting the understanding, development and use of advanced biofuels around the world.

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For Teachers

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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.

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


Northwest Biofuels Association Holds Community College Biodiesel Training for Diesel Mechanics in the Northwest.

On June 13, 2008, over 50 mechanics at Bates Technical College learned about biodiesel – from basics to detailed technical information related to specific diesel engine manufacturers.  “We found the training to be very educational and opened our eyes to using alternative fuels,” said Ray Shjerven, Diesel Engine Instructor.  To learn more about biodiesel training for mechanics or to assist in coordinating one in your area, contact Nikola Davidson at 206.389.8660 or   READ MORE

Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers

As part of the world’s premier museum and research complex, the NSRC can provide special access for teachers to the scientists, curators, and educators at the Institution. Most Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers sessions will be held at the museums and research centers of the Smithsonian and other museums and laboratories in or near Washington, D.C.

Each academy includes:

  • Hotel accommodations* for Sunday through Thursday nights;
  • A Sunday evening reception and Academy orientation;
  • Daily breakfast and lunch (Monday through Friday);
  • Special Thursday night celebration dinner or event;
  • Transport to and from the daily events (when appropriate); and
  • All materials and tuition.

*One additional person—spouse, friend, child—may stay in the participant’s room at a small additional cost.

Academies do not include:

  • Travel to and from the hotel from your point of arrival in Washington;
  • Parking fees;
  • Evening meals Sunday through Wednesday; or
  • Fees associated with university credits

College Credit

Optional graduate credit is available for an additional fee. More information to come.   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 which prepares underserved high school students for college degress and careers in environmental and related sciences through one-to-one mentoring. It includes 10 university-based chapters across the United States.
  • University Affiliate Program works to strengthen academic environmental programs at over 150 member colleges and universities nationwide, and presents a unified voice in promoting federal funding for environmental research and education.
  • Council of Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) brings together academic leaders to improve the quality and effectiveness of interdisciplinary environmental programs across the nation’s campuses.
  • 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.
  • Campus to Careers (C2C) Program supports young professionals in the transition to environmental careers through paid internships and fellowships with government agencies, buisnesses and non-profit organizations.
  • Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation and E-Learning   CAMEL’s intent is to improve undergraduate education on climate change causes, consequences, and solutions. It will do so by engaging a community of faculty members and students in developing an extensive, vetted online collection of high quality educational materials about the adaptation and mitigation of climate change and the science at its 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

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

Biodiesel Lessons and Labs

“…a way to work biodiesel into almost every chapter in the standard first year chemistry textbook. … these labs can also be used for environmental science or other courses. Some of these labs can also be used with middle school science classes.  … Each lesson includes:

  • National Science Standards
  • Objectives and Essential Questions
  • Background information
  • Student procedures
  • Student data sheets
  • Hints for the instructor”   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

Biofuels for Schools

Together they (biofuels and schools) offer students the perfect environment to discover science, learn about energy conservation, and teach essential job training skills. When students learn core concepts using biofuels, everyone benefits!  The mission is to encourage Kentucky high schools to teach, produce, and use biofuels within their schools and community.  The goals are:

  • Increase awareness and knowledge of biodiesel in the classroom and community.
  • Encourage teaching, production, and use of biodiesel through a multi disciplinary approach.
  • Increase awareness and knowledge of pollution prevention and resource conservation principles through biodiesel curriculum.
  • Encourage participation in partner programs through the teaching and use of biodiesel in schools.
  • Providing resources and services to schools that enable long term policies and planning for expanded use of biodiesel and financing of biodiesel projects.  READ MORE

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.

Middle School Activities

Students will explore how to grow poplar for bioenergy, measure carbon storage, compare different biofuels to fossil fuels, and measure their carbon footprints.

These activities use Next Generation Science Standards.  The activities range in time from 30 to 50 minutes.  Some of them will require more than one class period.

Growing Bioenergy



Carbon Impacts

Life Cycle Analysis


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 our 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


Fermentation In A Bag Activity

Fermentation Challenge: Making Ethanol from Cellulose

Mini-Fermenter Instructions

Bioprospecting for Cellulose-Degrading Microbes Description


Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101 Description

Quantitative Modeling of Biofuels Life Cycles Description

Field Investigations: Biomass Yield and Carbon Cycling Description

Field Investigations: Bug Biodiversity and Ecosystem Benefits Description

Carbon Dioxide Production in Soil Microbial Communities Description

Root Depth Model

Poker Chip Model of Global Carbon Pools and Fluxes updated November 2014

Global Energy Flows Activity

Converting Cellulosic Biomass to Ethanol (CB2E)


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. Downloadable 11″ x 17″ PDF, Browser-Friendly HTML Version

Part 2: Understanding Biomass: Plant Cell Walls.

Explains plant cell-wallstructure and some issues preventing their efficient conversion to ethanol.Downloadable 11″ x 17″ PDF, Accompanying preamble PDF, Browser-Friendly HTML Version


Quantitative Modeling of Biofuels Life Cycles. If you have used our LCA of Biofuels 101, this is a natural extension for the high school and undergraduate level.  The activity allows students to compare the net energy life cycle of ethanol production for switchgrass, diverse prairie and corn stover, under different conditions. Using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, students model a range of scenarios, starting with data and assumptions provided in the package. This is a flexible model with many opportunities for modifications depending on the abilities and interests of the students.

Root Depth Model. 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.

Bioenergy Institute for Educators For eight days, 12 teachers ranging from elementary to high school work directly with GLBRC researchers and learn more about biofuels. The goal of the program is to engage teachers with new tools and hands on participation.

Telling the Biofuels Story to Students  Understanding role of biofuels in meeting our energy needs and mitigating global climate change is a complex task. Telling stories is an effective way to help students make sense of science ideas and important societal issues. We created a “Biofuels Story” pictorial to help teachers introduce this story to students. This includes a wall version with pictures that can be posted and narrated on a classroom wall, as well as a supplemental online Prezi version of the story

Human energy use and biofuels and their role in managing global climate change are urgent current socio-scientific issues facing our society. The Next Generation Science Standards recommend that students learn about these about issues. However, the story is complex and students will need multiple opportunities to work through it. 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. The included online Prezi presentation version can serve as an introduction and review of the story.

This combination of an oral story and pictures serves four functions:

  1. Students remember stories because they are coherent and connected to a plot line.
  2. The story wall can act as a reference for students as they work through multiple activities (See teacher guide for details).
  3. The story wall can act as a focal point for discussions and elaborations as students’ knowledge grows.
  4. The combination of oral, written, and pictorial versions of the story provide students with multiple representations of the complex issue giving students with different learning skills access to the material.   READ MORE 

Biofuels vs Fossil Fuels Unit

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, respiration, and the overall effect of these fuels on the global carbon cycle. This in-depth unit was written in collaboration with education researchers a Michigan State University and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards.

They apply their knowledge of these processes to the global carbon cycle to examine how use of fossil fuels and biofuels have different effects on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and consequently global climate change. Students use their understanding of the global carbon cycle to study the claim that biofuels, such as ethanol made from plant material, can help reduce the rate of increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. In addition, students examine the environmental impact of biofuels agriculture.

Overall, this unit has three important goals. These focus on:

  1. Matter and energy changes associated with the carbon-transforming processes.
  2. The effects of the use of fossil fuels and biofuels on the global carbon cycle and global climate change.
  3. A cost/benefit analysis of the production and use of biofuels.

This is meant to be a stand-alone unit, however we strongly recommend that teachers use the Biofuels Supplement, a shorter version, along with the entire suite of Carbon TIME units.  Our research shows that students need this type of sustained instruction to master systematic thinking about matter and energy in biological and geological systems.  READ MORE

GLBRC “Data Nuggets” for Students

In the coming months we will be rolling out a series of “data nugget” activities that allow students to answer the research questions investigated by our scientists using real data generated by researchers in GLBRC labs and field trials. Topics will include biomass production, fermentation and biodiversity. These activities are based on a model developed by educators and researchers at W.K. Kellogg Biological Station. Our first activity has students compare the biomass production of different crops to determine when and where perennial bioenergy crops can compete with “king corn.” READ MORE

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


Indiana Biofuels Mobile Learning Center

The Biofuels Mobile Learning Center (BMLC) is an interactive traveling exhibit designed to explain and promote the use of ethanol and biodiesel. Featuring educational displays, fun interactive touch screens, videos and more, the exhibit is designed to appeal to all ages. The BMLC is offered for use at no cost courtesy of Indiana corn and soybean farmers.


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 Nuffield Council on Bioethics Teaching Materials

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has published a set of teaching resources based on its report Biofuels: ethical issues. The resources introduce students to the advantages and disadvantages of different types of biofuels, and include case studies and a role play exercise to explore the drivers of the biofuels industry and the impact that biofuels can have on people’s lives. Find out more

The resources are split into two lessons. In the first lesson, students will begin by learning about the different types of biofuels that are being produced as alternative renewable sources of energy. They will explore the advantages and disadvantages of these different types of biofuels, and begin to make comparisons.

The second lesson includes a role-play exercise to aid further exploration of the impacts of biofuels production in countries such as Brazil, Malaysia and the USA.

The resources have been created and trialled as a cross-curricular exercise for whole classes or larger student groups at Key Stage 3 and above. The resources were developed and trialled by Michelle Albury, Jennet Wade and Rebecca Ward, teachers at Graveney School in South London.

The resources are available to download either in PDF format or as editable Word files.   READ MORE

Ohio Soybean Council

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.  READ MORE and 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.

The Willow Biomass Education education module features several units:


SciFusion Wiki

Welcome to the SciFusion Wiki. This space is available to all science teachers who are interested in collaborating on lesson plans and curriculum ideas for grades 6-10. To start a new discussion, simply select “Add a New Page” to the left and then pose a question or set a goal. Then invite those others that you know who might be interested. Once your group has come up with a product of your collaboration, send it to me, Steve Lanphear and we will add it to the resources page on the SciFusion website. We hope you have an enjoyable experience…  READ MORE

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 teachers. Teachers and others interested in the science of the emerging biobased economy can find the Sun Grant BioWeb online at

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.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County Bio-Fuel Educational Outreach Tool

Meeting the needs to provide educators information on research-driven information on renewable energy technology, Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County launches a new Bio-Fuel Educational outreach tool geared for 8th/9th grades. It is an electronically-available lesson that provides educators a complete, learning standard-ready information package. This package consists of a Smartboard lesson, an accompanying video feature “Future Fuels” (approximately 17 minutes) and a companion comprehensive Teacher’s guide. The lesson provides objectives, information, vocabulary, resources and classroom activities related to cellulosic ethanol production for liquid transportation fuel development. READ MORE  To access this lesson material, click here>>

BBSRC  Practical Biofuel Activites

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
  • Chemistry

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

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


Please note many of these resources are very large file sizes. If you have any problems please let us know


Oil and biodiesel


Lignocellulosic bioethanol

Bacterial biofuels

Algal biofuels

Dry activities


Curriculum  These links are restricted to science subjects and refer to schemes of work or qualifications currently offered in the UK. The national science curriculum is currently under review and teaching of the new Programmes of Study for science will commence in September 2014.   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 Here

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

Green Ambassadors: Laguna High School Students Research Biofuels

May 1st, 2007    Linsay Hassett (aka Betty Biodiesel) leads a group of Laguna High School students in the Green Ambassadors program on a tour of Dave Erikson’s home brew biodiesel lab. The Green Ambassadors program was created to get students learning science, civics and environmental stewardship through experience and action. Today’s lesson provided the group with basic information about biodiesel that they could present to their school board. This field trip is just one step in the process to further their mission of converting dirty diesel school busses into cleaner burning bio-machines. READ MORE

Lincoln High Students Fuel Biodiesel Effort

June 19, 2008    The Lincoln County High School Future Farmers of America club has started the first biodiesel production center at a public school in the state.   With diesel prices in West Virginia nearing $5 a gallon and some analysts predicting it may hit $6 within a year, public school districts across the state are digging deep into their purses every time they fill the tanks of their school buses. One school in Lincoln County may have come up with a solution: It is making its own diesel fuel. READ MORE

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 and 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

Inspired by “Grassoline” Cover Story, High School Student Takes First in Statewide Science Competition

Waterford Fermenters Waterford Fermenters are miniaturized versions of real research apparatuses that were designed to be used primarily for fermentation instruction. Because similar models from science supply catalogs cost upwards of hundreds of dollars, efforts were made to produce a similar product at a much lower cost. The Waterford Fermenter utilizes materials that are easily available to any instructor who has access to an internet connection and a hardware store. The total cost can be reduced to less than $20 per unit (especially when materials are bought in bulk), enabling a course with typical funding to purchase and build multiple units for each student group in the class (ideally, one unit per group of 4).  READ MORE

Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101 activity published in The Science Teacher, December 2010

GK-12 Bioenergy Sustainability Project – 22 schools in SW Michigan are installing schoolyard bioenergy research plots.

For more examples of school-based projects click on the Teacher Resources category.