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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Trash to Gas

Lesson Description:
TrashtoGas Students will be able to...
  • Identify types of materials that fall under the category of biomass, and describe how biomass can be used as a fuel source.
  • Explain the benefits of biomass as alternative energy source.
  • Collect, record and organize data using a variety of graphic representations.

Lesson Type:
  • Experiment

Sustainability Topic:
  • Energy
  • Waste Reduction

Time Needed:
50-60 minutes
Standards Addressed:
Technology Standard 3: Understand the relationship among science, technology, society and the individual.
  • Benchmark # 6: Know ways technology is used to protect the environment (e.g., developing alternative forms of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels).

Geography Standard 14: Understand how human actions modify the physical environment.
  • Benchmark # 4: Understand the environmental consequences of both the unintended and intended outcomes of major technological changes in human history (e.g., the effects of automobiles using fossil fuels, the expansion of the amount of land brought into agriculture).

Geography Standard 16: Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources.
  • Benchmark # 7: Understand how the development and widespread use of alternative energy sources (e.g., biomass) might have an impact on societies (in terms of, e.g., air and water quality, existing energy industries, and current manufacturing practices).

Mathematics Standard 4: Understand and apply the basic and advanced properties of the concepts of measurement.
  • Benchmark # 2: Solve problems involving perimeter (circumference) and area of various shapes.
  • Benchmark # 6: Select and use real units and tools, depending on the degree of accuracy required, to find measurements for real-world problems.

Mathematics Standard 6: Understand and apply the basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis.
  • Benchmark # 1: Understand basic characteristics of measures of central tendency (i.e., mean, median, mode).
  • Benchmark # 4: Read and interpret data in charts, tables and plots.
  • Benchmark # 5: Use data and statistical measures for a variety of purposes (e.g., formulating and testing hypothesis).
  • Benchmark # 6: Organize and display data using tables, graphs (e.g., line, circle, bar), frequency distributions, and plots.
  • Benchmark # 8: Understand the same set of data can be represented using a variety of tables, graphs, and symbols and that different modes of representation often convey different messages (e.g., variations in scale can alter a visual message).

Materials Needed:
  • Nine two liter soda bottles
  • Duct tape
  • Disposable gloves
  • One cup of cow manure
  • Scale
  • Uncooked vegetable peels
  • Mashed banana
  • Nine latex balloons
  • 20 liters of distilled water
  • Funnel
  • Tape measure
  • Colored pencils
  • Bleach
  • Chart paper
  • Poster markers
  • Data worksheet provided below

School or Group:
Green Education Foundation (GEF)
Contact Email:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Trash to Gas.Lesson.pdf
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf TrashToGas.pdf
Located in: Math | Social Studies | Science

The Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse is brought to you in partnership with

Center for Green Schools