Future Fuels from Forests
July 6-10, 2009
2009 Future Fuels from Forests Teaching Units
Developed by summer teacher institute participants in fulfillment of course requirements for ED 5630 Future Fuels from Forests: An Investigation into the Sustainability of Biofuels Production taught at Michigan Technologidddddal University July 6-10, 2009, with funding from the National Science Foundation.
1. Energy Choices by Cheryl Grieshop
This unit is intended to follow a science unit which covers basic information about energy. In this unit, students will learn more about different types of energy sources and the challenges we face with regard to limited resources and the need for alternative fuels. Discussion will include renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, conservation, and how bio-energy can be a partial solution to our energy concerns. Students will explore what they can do to help conserve energy and make green choices.
2. Stewards of the Forests and Our Future by Thyis K. Thomas
The following lessons are intended to cultivate in young learners, a genuine interest in being good stewards of our world. As we consider the use of our forests as a resource to reduce or replace fossil fuels, we also seek to become better caretakers of our planet. With skill, knowledge and action, we can productively meet our needs and sustain our resources.
Our school’s grade five language arts curriculum SRA Open Court, has a unit titled Cooperation and Competition. This unit includes the story Founders of the Children’s Rain Forest from It’s Our World Too! by Phillip Hoose. This nonfiction story is about what first and second grade students did to help save the rain forest. We will use this real world example as motivation to learn more about forests in our state, and the human impact on these forest environments. These lessons will follow the thorough reading and discussion of the story. We will identify the location of forests where we live, and the living things that depend upon the trees that grow there. We will research the human impact on forests and how we can ensure their sustainability while meeting future energy needs. (5 Lessons, 50 minutes each).
3. Future Fuels: Problems, Resources & Possible Solutions by Markus G. Boenisch
7th Grade Science & High School Sciences
This unit is used to describe some of the modern fossil fuels we are using which are limited and non-renewable sources, what some of the other resources are and what possible solutions students can come up with. They are encouraged to talk to University and Other Scientists. There Is also real world and home solutions for students to make and work with.
4. Are Biofuels in Our Future? by Heather Bradway
8th Grade Science
I teach an 8th grade Science class and one portion of the curriculum taught includes a chapter called, “Earth’s Energy and Mineral Resources”. I plan to expand the section on “Other Renewable Energy Resources” that is taught in my class. Currently the textbook contains two paragraphs on energy from wood and three on energy from ethanol. I developed/adapted 5 days of lessons which will help students understand the following concepts: (1) the composition and relevance of Michigan’s forests as it relates to biofuels, (2) how carbon is stored in wood by calculating it’s amount in trees, (3) examine the pros and cons of ethanol production from various sources and locations, (4) predict/determine the amount of stored energy in a variety of biomass substances using a pop-can apparatus (calorimeter) set-up in a ring stand.
5. Biofuels Teaching Unit by Marty Green
7th Grade Alternative Energy Class
These five lessons are going to be a part of a class on Alternative Energy that students selected running for a six week period. This class looks at wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro energy. These five lessons will focus on developing an understanding of how biomass (trees) can be used to produce energy (ethanol) for many different uses to help meet our country’s energy needs. These lessons will also focus on developing an understanding of what our carbon cycle is and how we choose to affect it. The last lesson will focus on ethanol and other biofuels and how we create our own carbon footprint. In the final assessment students will display their understanding of biofuels and how there use will affect our planet.
6. Measuring Carbon Sequestration in Schoolyard Trees and Global Sustainability of Carbon Stores by Denise Payment
Middle School Science (Life, Environmental, Earth)
These lessons are a part of a unit that will review and assess students’ laboratory techniques, their ability to read informational text, while at the same time have them learn about the environmental impact of carbon sequestration. This is an important topic for the students in this school district due to the high degree of logging. If presented at the beginning of the year it could also serve as a MEAP review in the area of constructing new knowledge and reflecting on knowledge.
At the beginning of the year, each student will adopt a native tree in the area of the school. This project will be part of a yearlong journal project that will be added to, as different science content is discussed throughout the year. The tree will be the focal point as we discuss biotic and abiotic factors, reproduction, soil, photosynthesis (especially the carbon factor), and uses of trees by humans. These topics in the content area are part of life and earth science standards and benchmarks in the middle school. (See MI Standards and Benchmarks above)
7. Future Fuels from Forests Unit by Michael Randell
7th & 8th Grade Technology/Shop
This unit will cover topics such as renewable/nonrenewable resources, supply chain, onsite logging visit, Global Information System, and life cycle of a product. Through discussion, critical thinking, and hands-on learning students will investigate the uses of a forest. The unit provides plenty of movement in and out of the classroom. This six-day unit (50 minute periods) can be modified or extended into more days if students take longer than planned.
8. An Investigation into Sustainability of Biofuels Production Teaching Unit by Chuck Schepke
8th Grade Science Tech (Exploratory Shop Class)
The purpose of this 2/1/2 unit is designed to expose 8th grade Science Tech (woodshop) Roscommon Middle School students to the issue of forest sustainability in terms of managing it as a natural resource for wood products as a commodity for dimensional lumber (in terms of boardfeet) or a feedstock for biofuels (carbon content in biomass). Forest industries are a large part of our local economy and the dilemma of using forests for lumber or feedstock is already an issue in our area at the present time. This unit will have the students simulating and modeling foresters managing a tract forested land as a resource that could be allotted for dimensional lumber or feed stock for biofuels on a wooded parcel of land (~ 4 acres) on school property, about 100 yards away from the shop. The students will be first be introduced the biology of tree growth and will practice tree identification by looking a tree cookies and trees growing in our local area. The students will make and/or use foresters tools such as Biltmore sticks, diameter measuring tapes, increment borers, clinometers, to make measurements and take samples to analyze trees in a quadrant of the study area in terms of their species, dbh, and height. This data will be mathematically analyzed and compared to determine the number of boardfeet and the carbon content from biomass that this tract of forest could provide. The students will make their own tree cookie and will be required to present it in terms of mirroring what they did in the field study and applying the material they went over in class in terms of forest productivity and sustainability.
9. Future Fuels Unit Plan by Bernard Sutter
8th Grade Science
How plants are used as a fuel source.
10. From Forest to Fuels Energy Unit by Jessica Wagenmaker.
8th Grade Science
The learner will be able to identify how people in Michigan use energy and compare energy use through the generations of their families. The learner will be able to categorize energy resources as renewable or non-renewable. The learner will use technology to study non-renewable energy resources looking at the advantages and disadvantages. In the computer lab using the Tech Alive Learning Module, students will use the Using oil, gas and coal in our Lifetime Michigan Technology University Web Module. Students will learn about the three most used non-renewable energy resources using the on-line interactive web activity. The learner will describe the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy resources and evaluate Michigan’s renewable energy potential. The learner will create an informational publication utilizing their knowledge of renewable resources. The learner will describe Biomass as an alternative renewable energy source and evaluate Michigan’s energy potential. The learner will use their knowledge of biomass to play a quiz game. The learner will compare and contrast the advantages of and disadvantages of biomass as an alternative energy option. The leaner will calculate the carbon output of trees and identify the tree species in the school forest. The learner will demonstrate how chemical reactions release energy to produce ethanol and evaluate the usefulness of the production process. The learner will use ecological footprint calculators to assess and compare their impact on the environment to that of their classmates.
11. Fuels From the Forest by Bob Blaus
Chemistry/After School Ecology Club
These lessons were designed to be mostly done as a part of an outdoor education program, such as York ECO Club’s annual summer canoe trip along the Flambeau River in the Flambeau River State Forest. The Flambeau is a working forest. Students usually meet with forest rangers who describe the forest and how they balance the competing needs of the environment, industry and recreation. Required reading during the trip is the chapter on the Flambeau River from Aldo Leopold’s, “A Sand County Almanac.” One activity, the biodiversity webquest, is to be done prior to the trip. The last lesson, Pop Can Calorimetry, is to be done in lab. Overall objective is to see how much ethanol can be produced per acre of forest and then to see how efficient ethanol and its production are and to compare its pros and cons as a fuel supplement. The students in this program will have diverse educational backgrounds.
11. Future Fuels from Forests by Tim Barron
11th & 12th Grade Environmental Chemistry
This unit will correlate close with an Alternative Energy unit that I currently do in my class. This unit has traditionally been an exploratory unit requiring students to basically learn about different forms of alternative energy that may be used to provide energy for a community. The Alternative Energy unit follows a general unit on Energy. The unit will use Problem-Based Learning to contrast different fuels that can be used for the automobiles of Delta County. Problem-based learning involves presenting students with a real-life problem that they as a group must come up with a solution to. It is a very open-ended type project and is a very active type of learning for students. This type of lesson fosters a lot of classroom discussion and students must really delve into the subject to create a suitable, finished project.
12. Future Fuels from Forests Teaching Unit by Johanna Coleman & Casey Warner.
9th Grade Integrated Science
As part of an integrated science curriculum, students will learn how “environmental processes like the carbon cycle are crucial in processing matter for sustaining life” (HSCCE 2007) The unit will focus on 1) the change in energy types and energy use in our country over time, 2) the role of the carbon cycle in processing matter, 3) the impact of fossil fuels and alternative fuels on the environment, and 4) how our energy choices impact biodiversity.
13. Illinois Energy Audit by Michael R. Conroy.
9th Grade Science (Biology, Physical Science or Earth Science)
Students will investigate non-renewable and renewable energy resources presently available in Illinois as well as future options for renewable energy resources in the state. The unit will fit into the biology curriculum in the study of environmental systems. It will build on a section of the textbook section 9.3 Miler & Levine Biology textbook on fermentation. It will demonstrate real-world applications of the biological process of fermentation to produce fuel. The goal of unit is for students to understand energy options as they exist today in Illinois and as they may exist in the future. Students will investigate the pros and cons of various types of energy used in the state. They will learn about present methods of producing ethanol from grain as well as potential future ethanol production from cellulose.
14. Biofuels – JETS Problem Packet by Stephen Franklin.
This packet focuses on the engineering side of the process of making ethanol from typical woody material, and assessing the wood resources needed. It is designed for secondary students with an inclination towards science and engineering. All necessary background and formulas are provided within the packet itself so no outside knowledge should be needed. Individual problems are designed to rely heavily on recognizing the proper inputs to formulas, and unit analysis.
Specifically for me, this is meant to simulate a JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society ) problem packet for our competition teams to practice on. Since we (the A.West Science Dept) will use this as a weekly challenge, this will also be used as a recruiting tool for our competition teams. Prior competitions are archived at www.jets.org/teams/archives/index.cfm
Typical JETS problems are multiple choice. I chose to go with blanks to stop random guessing. Further, JETS topics have 10 questions and mine has 16. I designed it for a whole semester of one question a week. I might add 4 questions from the computer lab day (ethanol factory simulation) to make two complete packets.
15. Future Fuels from Forests Art & Science Unit by Kristine Halonen.
9th – 12th Grade Art
This unit will present the subjects of environmental sustainability and future energy choices to my art students. Students will learn about the possibility of using fuels from forests in the future. As a final project, students will create an art work that will be displayed in our school and used as an educational tool for its viewers.
16. Teaching Unit by Joe Heflin.
9th Grade Physical Science
By the end of this unit, students should understand: How and why energy consumption has changed.The similarities and differences between renewable and non-renewable energy.Identify the energy resources used in Michigan and compare them to those used in the United States. Identify the sources of Michigan’s energy resources.The benefits of energy conservation and sustainable living.Their (family) ecological footprint and the environmental impact it can cause.What actions and choices that they can make to reduce energy consumption and impact on the environment.
17. The Big Picture of Carbon in a Forest Community by Dale Moore.
11th grade Environmental Science, Forestry
The carbon cycle is a key concept in understanding forest ecology. As forests are now being considered as a biofuel source then the students need to understand how carbon and carbon products move through an ecosystem. Biodiversity, carbon cycle, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and carbon amount are topics that need to be connected in a real world sense. The students have been exposed to photosynthesis, cellular respiration, and the carbon cycle in Biology, and Physical Science. Now in the Environmental Science class students will have the opportunities to connect the topics as they take measurements in the school's forest.
This unit would follow topics like geology, weather, soil, and biogeochemical cycles. The Forestry unit is where this lesson would be included. The goals of the lesson would be that students would be able to compare various forest types in terms of what trees are present, how the carbon cycles between trees and animals, how a greater biodiversity equals a more healthy forest, and how much carbon is stored in the trees.
18. Biofuels Unit by Anne Muto.
9th grade Earth Science
This mini-unit is designed to introduce students to the carbon cycle, carbons sinks and sources, biomass energy sources, and the societal and environmental effects of biofuels. It will be used to enhance a much larger climate change unit that I currently teach. The goal of the unit is to introduce students to the concepts of biofuels, various biofuel feedstocks, the production of fuel from various types of biomass, and the costs and benefits of wide-scale biomass energy production.
19. Future Fuel Investigations: Using Chemistry to Make Informed Decisions by Nicole Olszowy
10th – 12th grade, Chemistry
The major goal of this unit is for the students to use the results from the various investigations and research to form their own opinions (based on facts and observations) of various types of fuels (specifically fossil fuels and ethanol). The students will be learning about chemical reactions and the energy released in combustion throughout the various investigations. The difference from a conventional lesson is that the students will be learning these chemistry concepts for the purpose making an informed decision about fuel sources. This unit strives to give purpose to the lessons, and also gives students some ideas for possible careers in science and engineering. Ultimately, the students should be able to answer the following question: In your opinion, what type of fuel should we be utilizing in mid-Michigan and why?
20. Future Fuels from Forests Teacher Institute Teaching Unit by Jennifer Peters.
9th grade Earth Science
This unit is designed to be used in a high school biology course. It begins with an overview of energy sources and how we use those energy sources. These sources are divided into renewable and non-renewable sources. Students are then exposed to using biomass as a fuel source by conducting experiments on different sources of biomass to determine which source is the easiest to use. Ethanol is produced through the metabolic process called fermentation. Students will apply their knowledge of this process to the production of ethanol. Students discuss the difficulties of using cellulosic ethanol and propose ways to make cellulosic ethanol more efficiently. The unit ends with students exploring ways to decrease their energy consumption.
21. Energy Quest Unit by Mike Rinke.
Physical Science, Chemistry, Physics
Define energy, renewable and nonrenewable energy sources. Address the standard listed above. Define Global Warming and Greenhouse gases. Address the standards listed above. Develop an understanding of what an energy portfolio is and how it can address our energy needs. In the process, address the standards listed above. Define carbon sequestration, sustainability, and review energy efficiency and conservation.. In the process, address the standards listed above. Define Biofuel and Carbon Neutral. In the process, address the standards listed above.
22. Future Fuels from Forest Teaching Unit by Paul B. Wilson.
9th Grade Integrated Science
The unit focuses on awareness of energy choices, consequences and demands placed on our planet by using certain energy types, and how students can positively impact the environment through positive energy choices and conservation. The curriculum emphasizes renewable energy choices such as biofuels to meet sustainable energy demands, while trying to diversify students understanding of a manageable energy portfolio to meet personal and global needs.
This unit is one of ten units that will be taught in a freshman level science course called Integrated Science that is offered at Portage High School in Portage, Wisconsin. Integrated Science is an introductory high school science course that is taught for half a year course in block schedule.