Find out how a dairy farm is using a methane digester to turn cow poop into electricity.

About This Video

Grade level: 6-10
Length: 1.75 minutes
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: MS-ESS3.C, MS-ESS3.D

How can we generate electricity from cow poop? Below are discussion questions you can use in the classroom in conjunction with this video to engage your students in learning about this innovative renewable energy source.

Video Discussion Questions

1. How can cow poop get turned into electricity?  What process does it go through?
2. What is methane?  Why might we want to reduce the amount of methane that gets into the atmosphere?
3. How is cow poop used at the Straus dairy farm other than to generate electricity?
4. In the video, Albert Straus talks about creating and running a 'sustainable' dairy farm.  What do you think a 'sustainable' farm looks like?  In what ways is the Straus dairy farm sustainable?

Science Texts and Vocabulary for Students

Your students can read more about and do their own evaluation of poop power:

Some of the topics and vocabulary in this video might be new to your students. To help with this, we've created a handout that your students can refer to as they watch this video:

Connections to the Next Generation Science Standards

While this video doesn't necessarily cover the following standards in depth, it is a compelling resource you can use to supplement your curriculum that does.

Disciplinary Core Ideas (Grades 6-8):

  • MS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • MS-ESS3.D: Global Climate Change

Crosscutting Concepts (Grades 6-8):

  • Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World

Exploring Energy: About This Unit

Energy is an important part of our everyday lives. We use energy to cook, get around, and send emails. In this unit, we'll explore the issues associated with fossil fuels and how people are coming up with innovative sustainable energy alternatives for a brighter future.

Additional Resources

Straus Family Creamery: Methane Digester
Learn more about how Straus dairy turns manure from their own dairy cows into electricity that powers their entire farm.

KQED Clue into Climate: Methane-The Other Greenhouse Gas
Although there are natural sources of methane, most of the methane that is contributing to global warming is produced through human activities, such as landfill use and raising cattle. In this lesson from Clue into Climate, produced by KQED, students will learn about sources of methane and how methane affects climate.


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