The Lesson Plan - Biomass Energy


Science – SC.6.E.7.5
Explain how energy provided by the sun influences global patterns of atmospheric movement and the temperature differences between air, water, and land.

Mathematics – MAFS.6.RP.1.3
Use ratio and rate reasoning to solve real-world and mathematical problems, e.g., by reasoning about tables of equivalent ratios, tape diagrams, double number line diagrams, or equations.

Big Idea(s)

Biomass is a renewable energy form that is derived from plants and animals.

Essential Question

Is biomass a good alternative to meet the current energy needs of our society?


Biomass • Biofuel • Combustion • Organic matter

Background Information

Biomass is considered an alternative form of clean energy. This renewable source of energy contains stored energy from the sun and is derived by using organic matter as fuel in order to generate electricity. It has been used by people far longer than any other source of energy. Some types of biomass that can be used for energy are wood, crops, garbage, landfill gas, and alcohol fuels. By using these as an alternative fuel source we will be reducing our overreliance of fossil fuels, we will reduce our carbon footprint and there will be less garbage in our landfills.

There are four ways to convert biomass energy into a usable energy source: fermentation, burning, bacterial decay, and conversion. Biomass helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although biomass does release carbon emissions, it is carbon neutral. That means that its fuels only release the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as was absorbed by plants in their life cycle.

Guiding Questions

  • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using biomass for energy (CO2 mission, efficiency, cost, etc.)?
  • What types of biomass can be used to generate fuel?
  • How do the different types of biomass compare to one another?
  • What is the most commonly used material for biomass energy?
  • Is biomass a sustainable energy source?

Math Mania

Essential Question:

Picture a large corn field being used to generate energy.  The energy from the corn can be burned to help create heat or can be converted to electricity.

Which unit of measurement would best describe the area of the field?

The correct response is square feet.

Instructional Sequence

Fun Facts

Did you know…

  • Biomass energy has been used by humans for most of our history on the Earth, with the burning of wood and other biological materials for heat and cooking purposes?
  • Penn State University researchers have produced a human waste-powered generator. It can produce 51 kilowatts of energy from the waste of 100,000 people?
  • Biomass can produce biogas fuel like methane that can be used to power and heat homes?
  • When energy from the Sun enters the Earth’s atmosphere and hits the surface of the planet, 49% is absorbed into rocks, buildings, water and other parts of the surface of the Earth?

Inquiry Type

Teacher Resources