Carbon Cycle Adventure Story

Global Carbon Cycle Game

Number Sense

Carbon Context

Humanity's Roles in the Carbon Cycle

Carbon Cycle Introduction Activities

Carbon cycle introduction activities familiarize students with the components of the carbon cycle at both large and small scales.  They also address important concepts of cycles (some of which may also be found in the modeling section), such as pool size, the balance of fluxes, residence time, and sub-cycles within cycles. 

Students can follow a carbon atom’s journey through the complex cycle by reading the Carbon Atom Adventure Story, and/or participate in a game in which they themselves travel through the carbon cycle by moving around the classroom to and from pools such as the atmosphere, plants, and ocean. These activities followed by examination of a global carbon cycle diagram and a class discussion will give students a framework for understanding later activities in modeling, experimentation or the field.

Depending on your classroom’s focus you may also consider the broader context of the carbon cycle, such as the history of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere, how carbon dioxide is related to temperature and the difference between the effects of human presence and human actions on the global carbon cycle.  Here we provide only the beginning of these types of activities, for more ideas refer to the Additional Resources page in the toolbar above.