BioFutures: Biomass Energy Education Activity Guide

Understanding energy issues can help students prepare for the future in Wisconsin, the United States, and global communities. Wisconsin does not contain oil, coal, or natural gas reserves and is at the mercy of other states and nations for our energy needs. As the shift to renewable energy approaches, Wisconsin has to take stock of the renewable resources that are available. The most utilized renewable energy resource is wood burning in homes and industry.

Wisconsin is rich in biomass resources including closed landfills, animal manure, crops such as corn and soybeans, and forested land. Biogas is currently being produced at waste water treatment facilities, closed landfills, and large dairy farms. The use of ethanol, an alternative fuel made from corn, is increasing due to the increased cost of gasoline and pollution regulations placed on six southeastern counties in Wisconsin. Biodiesel is being made in large facilities and by motivated individuals throughout the state for their own use. The uses of more biomass energy forms are likely to increase as time passes. This biomass curriculum will help you teach your students about the pros and cons of biomass energy use in Wisconsin!

It is very important that students experience activities which will enable them to understand renewable energy and biomass energy concepts. Moreover, it is crucial that students gain an appreciation for renewable energy resources at an early age. This early awareness will support their further explorations of biomass energy resource development and use. BioFutures includes several activities that will support awareness of biomass energy resources.

Download BioFutures here (PDF)!

Activity Support

Photosynthesis Promenade


Joanna Cole. The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow. New York: Scholastic, 1995.

Joanna Cole. The Magic School Bus Gets Planted: A Book About Photosynthesis. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

Bobbie D. Kalman. How a Plant Grows.

Would You Heat With Wood?


Heating with Biomass: A Feasibility Study of Wisconsin Schools Heated with Wood

Fact Sheets

Heating Your Home Safely with Wood


Story Writing Tips for Kids

How to Write a Story

Advertising Biodiesel


National Biodiesel Board

Make Your Own Biodiesel

Community Design - It's a Gas

Don't Waste Waste

Grasses for the Masses


Biomass Energy Resource Center

Pellet Fuels Institute

United States Department of Energy

Roadside Renewables


Renewable Energy from Landfill Waste - Milwaukee, WI

How Stuff Works

Biofuel Beliefs


Corn Ethanol - Fueling Options for the Future

Websites - General

Ethanol Across America

All About Ethanol

Renewable Fuels Association

Growth Energy - America's Ethanol Supporters

Opposition to Ethanol

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association - Ethanol

Websites - History

Ethanol Fuel History

Ethanol History

History of Ethanol Production and Policy

Ethanol Articles

Limits of BioFuels (Pimentel article)

Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol (pages 1-10)

Biomass Gazette


National Corn Growers Association

Wisconsin Ethanol Coalition

EPA Alternative Fuels

Corn in Your Car


Alternative Fuel Data Center

Additional Resources

If you'd like to go more in depth and explore next generation biofuels, visit the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) website to learn about additoinal professional development programs and/or classroom materials.