Jump to this Short Demonstration/Experiment »
Fermentation Challenge: Making Ethanol from Cellulose
http://www.glbrc.org/education-and-outreach/teachers-2

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, U.S. Department of Energy

This hands-on activity introduces students to the process of fermenting different carbohydrate sources into ethanol. Teachers demonstrate yeasts’ inability to metabolize certain food sources.

Activity will take about three to five 50-minute class periods. Additional materials required.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
Other materials addressing GPe

Energy Literacy

Fossil and bio fuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.
Other materials addressing:
4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:B) Designing investigations
Other materials addressing:
B) Designing investigations.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:C) Collecting information
Other materials addressing:
C) Collecting information.
1. Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills:D) Evaluating accuracy and reliability
Other materials addressing:
D) Evaluating accuracy and reliability.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:B) Changes in matter
Other materials addressing:
B) Changes in matter.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.2 The Living Environment:D) Flow of matter and energy
Other materials addressing:
D) Flow of matter and energy.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.4 Environment and Society:D) Technology
Other materials addressing:
D) Technology.

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

  • Great to use when biology students are studying enzymes. The balloon activity is appropriate for high school classes.
  • Teachers will need ample time for preparation (e.g., read the detailed instructions, do demo ahead of time).

About the Science

  • Students design their own experiment and collect data to investigate the ability of yeast to metabolize a variety of feedstocks originating from different carbohydrate sources.
  • Students are encouraged to think about potential feedstocks and the biochemical processes necessary to convert each type of carbohydrate into fuel.

About the Pedagogy

  • This is an inquiry-based experiment where students design their own experiment within. A demo is used to start students thinking about the fermentation process.
  • Students can design and carry out their own labs to try to improve fermentation rates of various feedstocks as a going further exercise.
  • Two versions are available: One using balloons to measure fermentation rates and an advanced method using Vernier probes.
  • Excellent supplemental support materials are included. Sample data and a complete answer key is provided. Very explicit teacher materials are provided.
  • Good background articles on biofuels, enzymes, and the production of cellulosic ethanol accompany the lab exercise.
  • Some background in chemistry is required.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Very thorough teacher directions, materials, and resources are given.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Materials below were developed by teachers and professional educators associated with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center with input from our scientists: http://www.glbrc.org/education/educationalmaterials

Jump to this Short Demonstration/Experiment »



Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion


Log in to reply