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Classroom Materials | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The materials below were developed by teachers and professional educators associated with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center with input from our scientists. The materials are designed to engage students in learning about science and engineering challenges associated with producing sustainable biofuels.

All materials are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and designed to fit within the curriculum of standard K-16 science courses. Materials include investigations, shorter stand-alone activities and readings, as well as longer integrated units. Use the sort and search features to find materials that meet your needs. For additional bioenergy labs and activities developed through participants in our Research Experience for Teachers program, visit the RET Projects page. Is Burning Trees Still Green? Some Experts Now Question Biomass. Logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew feed low-value trees into a wood chipper, before bringing the chips to ReEnergy Holdings' biomass plant in Lyonsdale, N.Y. David Sommerstein/NCPR hide caption toggle caption David Sommerstein/NCPR Logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew feed low-value trees into a wood chipper, before bringing the chips to ReEnergy Holdings' biomass plant in Lyonsdale, N.Y.

David Sommerstein/NCPR In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest. "There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. "Everybody said that green power was supposed to be the wave of the future," Hemmerich says. In 2015, biomass — which refers to trees or other organic matter burned for fuel — produced more electrical energy in the U.S. than solar panels. When you burn a tree, it releases carbon gas, which causes climate change. Animals | Activity 4.1 | CarbonTIME. Have students place a “chemical energy card” on the reactants side of their placemat, along with their amino acids, fatty acids, glycerol and glucose molecules.

Coach students to simulate the actual process of dehydration synthesis by making a water molecule each time they tape two monomers together. This helps show that each time a bond is broken a chemical reaction takes place and new bonds form. Protein: Show slide 30. Have students tape together four amino acid monomers to form one protein polymer and three water molecules. Have students move the new molecules with the energy card to the products side of their placemat. If time allows make the connection to cell division: cells have to both get bigger and also divide in order for animals to grow. When students have finished their products, have them note that their glucose monomers are still on the reactants side of their placemat. Hardwoodbiofuels. Exploring ethanol activity. Agriculture: State-of-the-art soil. Jeff Hutchens/Getty Biochar — a soil additive made by heating biological material — is catching attention as a means to improve crop growth and clean up contaminated water.

For more than 150 years, the Brooklyn Navy Yard constructed vessels that helped to stop the slave trade from Africa, lay the first undersea telegraph cable and end the Second World War. Now, this sprawling industrial facility in New York City is filled with artists, architects, producers of artisanal moonshine and people growing organic vegetables. On a drizzly day in autumn, Ben Flanner tends a sea of red and green lettuce on a 6,000-square-metre rooftop farm. The soil beneath the plants looks ordinary, but Flanner grabs a handful and holds it up for inspection. Across the United States, sales of this long-lasting soil additive have surged over the past few years, tripling annually since 2008, according to some estimates. Amazonian roots Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters/Corbis Pollution wrangler Growth industry. CTIME - Ecosystems. 2015 - 2016 Field Test Version Principal Authors Jenny Dauer, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Charles “Andy” Anderson, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University Hannah Miller, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University Wendy Johnson, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University Emily Scott Allison Freed, Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State University Contributing Authors Lindsey Mohan, Jennifer Doherty, Elizabeth Xeng de los Santos, Elizabeth Tompkins Editors Elizabeth Wolzak, Melissa McPhee: National Geographic Educational Programs Illustrations Craig Douglas This research is supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation: A Learning Progression-based System for Promoting Understanding of Carbon-transforming Processes (DRL 1020187) and Sustaining Responsive and Rigorous Teaching Based on Carbon TIME (NSF 1440988).

Lizard Evolution Virtual Lab. Climate Educator Guide -- A Guatemala Case Study. Carbon is the fourth most abundant element on Earth and necessary for all life. Yet it is the same element which is a component of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas famous for its effect on Earth’s climate and rising temperatures. During these lessons, students will begin to discover the relationship between CO2 and the Earth’s climate, as well as the intricate path of the carbon cycle and how carbon in the atmosphere is connected to living things.

Students will also explore the role forests play in climate change, and how communities -- such as Carmelita, Guatemala -- are taking part in the UN initiative REDD+ to help protect forests while fighting climate change. Developed in collaboration with Project Learning Tree: Activities Activity 1: Climate Basics [PDF] Overview: The Earth’s climate is changing due to an increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Activity 2: The Carbon Cycle [PDF] Activity 3: Trees and Carbon [PDF] Activity 4: Forests of Guatemala [PDF] Classroom Activities: What is My Carbon Footprint? MSU Extension Forestry - Wood Slab Energy. Belgian scientists look for biofuel clues in panda poo. Estimation of biomass and its nutrients content. Another month, another global heat record broken — by far.

WASHINGTON — Earth dialed the heat up in June, smashing warm temperature records for both the month and the first half of the year. Off-the-charts heat is "getting to be a monthly thing," said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "This is the third month this year that we've broken the monthly record. " "There is almost no way that 2015 isn't going to be the warmest on record," she added. NOAA calculated that the world's average temperature in June hit 61.48 degrees Fahrenheit (16.33 Celsius), breaking the old record set last year by 0.22 degrees (.12 degrees Celsius). Usually temperature records are broken by one or two one-hundredths of a degree, not nearly a quarter of a degree, Blunden said.

And the picture is even more dramatic when the entire year is considered. © AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File FILE - In this June 29, 2015, file photo, children play as they cool down in a fountain beside the Manzanares river in Madrid, Spain. Mountain Pine Beetle. Mountain Pine Beetle by D.A. Leatherman, I. Aguayo, and T.M. Mehall* (9/11) Quick Facts... Mountain pine beetles (MPB) are the most important insect pest of Colorado's pine forests. MPB often kill large numbers of trees annually during outbreaks. Mountain pine beetle (MPB), Dendroctonus ponderosae, is native to the forests of western North America. Mountain pine beetles develop in pines, particularly ponderosa, lodgepole, Scotch and limber pine. A related insect, the Douglas-fir beetle (D. pseudotsugae), occasionally damages Douglas-fir. Mountain pine beetles and related bark beetles in the genus Dendroctonus can be distinguished from other large bark beetles in pines by the shape of the hind wing cover (Figure 1, top).

Signs and Symptoms of MPB Attack Popcorn-shaped masses of resin, called "pitch tubes," on the trunk where beetle tunneling begins. Life History and Habits Mountain pine beetle has a one-year life cycle in Colorado. MPB larvae spend the winter under the bark. Infested Trees. Bark-beetles-brochure. Bulls and bugs: Four-year study examines pine beetle's impact on elk habitat in the Elkhorns. National Geographic Magazine - By Hillary Rosner One chilly morning in October 2013, Diana Six parked her white Subaru at the edge of a pine forest in southwestern Montana’s Big Hole Valley. Beneath snow-tipped peaks, lodgepole pines in four different colors draped the hillside—a time line of carnage. The gray ones, now just trunks and branches, had died in 2009. Light red trees, still holding needles, had succumbed in 2011. Darker, auburn trees had perished in 2012. Even the seemingly healthy green trees, said Six, a ponytailed, bodybuilding, beer-brewing entomologist at the University of Montana, were not what they seemed.

Six zipped her jacket and ambled into the woods with an ax. Six moved to the next tree, another seemingly healthy one. Across western North America, in millions of acres of pine forest, the story is the same. Nature is always changing. Unlike other organisms that have been ravaging the American landscape—Asian carp, kudzu—the mountain pine beetle isn’t an immigrant. Or maybe not. Bark beetle kill leads to more severe fires, right? Well, maybe. By Gail WellsHigh Country News Posted: 06/24/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT The lodgepole pine and spruce-fir forests of the Intermountain West are reeling under a one-two punch: more frequent and severe wildfires, and an epidemic of tree-killing bark beetles.

Once-green forests are filled with red dying trees and patches of gray dead ones. From a distance, the effect is oddly beautiful. Up close, people often experience a visceral jolt, followed by a sense of alarm: Can't somebody do something? Steve Currey has fielded his share of anxious phone calls. Wildfire and beetle epidemics both have long histories in Western forests. It might seem that fire and bark beetles are locked in some malevolent feedback loop, with fires inviting beetles to devour weakened trees, and beetles creating fuel for future fires. The study's findings — that beetle attacks don't increase severe-fire risk, and may in fact reduce it as dying trees shed needles — may sound counterintuitive. So what's a forest manager to do?

The Coal That’s Good for the Climate — NOVA Next. In northern Senegal, near Ross-Bethio, it’s mid-day, the time when the sun is at its hottest. I’m meeting Alioune Diatta in the middle of a field, and he’s wearing the pinched expression of someone wrung out by too much sun and too much sweat. “The farmer is the unluckiest person in the world,” he tells me right away after introducing himself. Almost 20 years ago, Diatta moved from the lush and semi-tropical Casamance region to the arid northern part of Senegal, a landscape marked by its sandy soils, its dry earth-moving winds, and its short rainy seasons.

I ask him, why had he wanted to leave the paradise that is the Casamance in order to come to this place? He says there was the conflict—a low-grade civil war waged by the region’s separatists that was especially disruptive in the 1990s when Diatta made the move. “I was mostly drawn by the onions,” he says. A Senegalese farmer tends his irrigated onion crop. But biochar has another trick up its sleeve. Crutch or Cure? The Unknowns. National Geographic Magazine - Historically the mountain pine beetle’s primary host has been the lodgepole pine. In the north, where lodgepoles dominate the landscape, cold temperatures helped keep beetle populations in check; down south the insects had far fewer trees to infest. With forests increasingly warmed by climate change, the beetles are thriving in once inhospitable areas, attacking species of pine they rarely touched before—and drastically altering the landscape.

New hope for beetle-killed landscapes. From the air, they look like brittle, dead landscapes: millions of acres of scratchy brown pipe cleaners and toothpick logs. Since the 1990s, naturally-occurring bark beetles have multiplied under the effects of drought, climate change and fire-repressed forests, leading to outbreaks that have ravaged forests and left land managers scrambling to deal with a glut of dead trees. But 2015 may prove a turning point. The first hopeful news comes from the lab of Richard Hofstetter, a forest entomologist at Northern Arizona University. Working with a private company called Montana BioAgriculture, Hofstetter has identified a deadly strain of the Beauveria bassiana fungus that kills 80 to 90 percent of pine beetles, one of the most destructive bark beetle species of recent years. As the journal Entomology Today explains, “The fungus releases white powdery spores, and when the beetles crawl over them the fungus gets into their bodies and takes over.”

That’s starting to change. Text Size The main hosts for MPB are pines. The native pine hosts in Montana include: In addition to these native trees, a number of non-native trees planted in Montana can be attacked. In situations where both native and non-native trees have been in proximity, the non-native trees appear to be preferred.

Species other than pines have been reported as occasional hosts. Additional Identification Resources to Identify Tree Species Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest Trees and Shrubs in Montana. MTNPineBeetleFinal. Mountain Pine Beetle. Bark_beetle_outbreaks_students. Name________________________ Changing Planet: Bark Beetle Outbreaks Background Mountain pine beetles (or pine bark beetles) are native to North American trees and are an important component of forest ecosystems. However, over the past 15 years, the pine beetle population has grown faster than the local ecosystems can tolerate. The range of these beetles has also expanded. The result of these increases is that large stands of mature pine trees are being killed off by these aggressive and hungry pests.

In this investigation you will explore the causes of population increase, the relationship between the beetles and their host trees, and the challenges in eradicating the beetle population. Lesson Questions What is the relationship between the mountain pine beetles and their host pine trees? Materials per group of 2 or 4 students Internet connection Bark Beetle Outbreaks game Scissors to cut up game pieces (if necessary) Graph paper Colored pencils Lesson Procedure 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 1. 2. 3. Resources | CarbonTIME. EnvLit - Working Groups. As Uses of Biochar Expand, Climate Benefits Still Uncertain by Mark Hertsgaard: Yale Environment 360. Frequently Asked Questions about Biochar | International Biochar Initiative.

CNN, Anderson Cooper 360° - Biochar to Save the Planet. As Uses of Biochar Expand, <br />Climate Benefits Still Uncertain. Biochar Websites. NASA - Help for the Environment -- and Your Garden. Can 'biochar' save the planet? Can 'biochar' save the planet? Carbon Sequestration - Home. Biochar Information | US Biochar Initiative. Biochar Then & Now | US Biochar Initiative.

What Is Biochar? | International Biochar Initiative. Farm | Biochar Farms. University_of_Hawaii_article_1-3-11.pdf. NASA satellite will map soil moisture. Measurement of Soil Moisture. BANR Bioenergy. Bulls and bugs: Four-year study examines pine beetle's impact on elk habitat in the Elkhorns. Beetle kill prompts tree removal on MacDonald Pass. Cars do not need to idle to warm up in cold weather. Carbon Cycle ( Read ) | Biology.

Exploring Energy Transformations in Plants | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101 | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Biofuels Basics. Feedstock Supply. Biochar - A Multitude of Benefits. Life Cycle Assessment of Biofuels 101 | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. Fermentation in a Bag | Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. The Carbon Cycle : Feature Articles. What is the Carbon Cycle? What is the science behind it? | United States Carbon Cycle Science Program. Carbon Mitigation Initiative: Stabilization Carbon Crisis Game. The Carbon Cycle Game. All About Carbon Dioxide | A Student's Guide to Global Climate Change.

ESRL Global Monitoring Division - Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network. Colorado ethanol producer begins shift from corn to woody biomass.