Jump to this Video »
Ethanol Biofuel
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/biot09.sci.engin.systems.ethanol/

NOVA, WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

This video segment examines ethanol, a cleaner-burning fuel alternative to gasoline, and the efforts to produce it more efficiently.

Video length: 5:33 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • A good video to include in any unit that addresses how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Educator could introduce cost/benefit analysis of ethanol as a fuel as well as social and economic challenges.

About the Science

  • This video goes over the pros and cons of using ethanol as an alternative to gasoline.
  • Discusses issues such as how converting corn into ethanol requires a lot of energy and reduces stocks of corn that might otherwise be used to feed people and livestock.
  • Shows research efforts to use cellulosic biomass and microorganisms to accomplish the conversion from plant matter to fuel in a single step.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The combination of the video with the Background Essay is helpful - i.e. the essay goes into a little more depth than the video, which aids in understanding the full reasoning behind using cellulosic biomass to make ethanol.

About the Pedagogy

  • Background essay, discussion questions, and a link to standards are provided.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video should be downloaded for classroom use - online image quality not sufficient for projecting.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

MS-LS1.C2:Within individual organisms, food moves through a series of chemical reactions in which it is broken down and rearranged to form new molecules, to support growth, or to release energy.

MS-ESS3.A1:Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Energy and Matter

MS-C5.3:Energy may take different forms (e.g. energy in fields, thermal energy, energy of motion).

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

HS-ESS3.A1:Resource availability has guided the development of human society.

HS-ESS3.A2:All forms of energy production and other resource extraction have associated economic, social, environmental, and geopolitical costs and risks as well as benefits. New technologies and social regulations can change the balance of these factors.

HS-ETS1.A2:Humanity faces major global challenges today, such as the need for supplies of clean water and food or for energy sources that minimize pollution, which can be addressed through engineering. These global challenges also may have manifestations in local communities

HS-ETS1.B1:When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

HS-LS1.C1:The process of photosynthesis converts light energy to stored chemical energy by converting carbon dioxide plus water into sugars plus released oxygen.

HS-LS1.C3:As matter and energy flow through different organizational levels of living systems, chemical elements are recombined in different ways to form different products.

HS-LS1.C4:As a result of these chemical reactions, energy is transferred from one system of interacting molecules to another. Cellular respiration is a chemical process in which the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and new compounds are formed that can transport energy to muscles. Cellular respiration also releases the energy needed to maintain body temperature despite ongoing energy transfer to the surrounding environment.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Energy and Matter

HS-C5.3:Energy cannot be created or destroyed—only moves between one place and another place, between objects and/or fields, or between systems.


Jump to this Video »