Education Programs


Science Teachers in Professional Development course at Boyce Thompson InstituteNextfest kids #12Cornell Education and Outreach

The Northeast Bioenergy and BioProducts Education Program  provides Faculty Developmentopportunities for teachers (grades 6-16) interested in expanding their basic understanding of biobased energy and biobased products and incorporating the topic in their classroom through hands-on activities.  The program operates through nine Mirror Training sites in the Northeast Region:  Led by Cornell University (Corinne Rutzke, PhD, Program Director), summer workshops are hosted at partner sites:  Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, NY,  Ohio Bioproducts Innovation Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, MD,  Delaware State University in Dover, DE,  Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, NY, Rutgers EcoComplex, Bordentown, NJ, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA, and West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.  The program offers approximately 100 teacher training positions annually through Teaching Partner workshops, internships and fellowships.  Teachers experience bioenergy and bioproducts topics through a suite of hands-on kits, written materials, presentations and tours.  The program is funded through a grant from the US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Agriculture and Food Research Initiative(AFRI), Sustainable Bioenergy Program. The original proposal team for this project was formed in a Northeast Sun Grant Conference working group focused on Education (2010 NESGI conference).  To learn more about it, please visit


The Biofuels Teaching Game “Biofuels: The Race to the Pump!”

A new board game developed at Cornell University in the Northeast Sun Grant Institute of Excellence at Cornell is designed to teach K-12 students the concepts and steps involved in converting various biological starting materials into biobased transportation fuels – from the farm to the fuel pump. The game also emphasizes the important benefits of research by allowing “quick advances” for players who land on a “Cornell R&D” spot and are advanced more rapidly toward the goal. The biofuel pump at the end of the game states “We all win!” reminding us of the ecological benefits that use of biofuels will bring to the whole planet. Biofuels are a renewable energy form with no net carbon emissions.

The biofuel pump at the end of the game remind players of the ecological benefits that use of biofuels will bring to the whole planet.

Biofuel game boardThe First Presentation: A Huge Success

The game was first presented in public in September 2006 at the WIRED-GE NextFest event (Future of GREEN pavilion) at the Javits Center in New York City, attended by 100,000 people over 4 days. Cornell Research Associate, Stephane Corgie, led a team of Cornell graduate students, Sarah Munro, Marie Donnelly and Linelle Fontenelle at the event. The Cornell team guided students, teachers and families through the steps of the game.

Different aspects of the game appealed to a wide range of ages, from pre-school to adults. Some children returned to the game again and again to try the game using a different biofuel truck. Children were drawn to the game by the miniature trucks –their favorite being the ‘french fry–waste oil truck’. The game was well received and created a great deal of excitement and interest by parents and teachers, many of whom requested copies of the game and even took photos to bring back to their classrooms. Indeed, the game illustrates very broad concepts including sustainability, carbon footprint, life cycle and renewable energies and links them to industrial networks and the global economy. The game board is also a block-diagram that explains more detailed processes to adults and was a useful tool in answering questions and concerns of the general public.

The game was created by members of Professor Larry Walker’s team: Dr. Stephane Corgie, Dr. Corinne Rutzke and Ph.D. Candidate, Sarah Munro.

Help us improve the game!

Your feedback and ideas for improvement on the game is welcomed and encouraged! Also please send us photos of your classroom playing the Biofuels game and your creative versions of the game pieces that we can share on this website!