Carbon is an element that is present in all living things, making up carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbon is constantly recycled on our planet by moving from the atmosphere to living things and back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Carbon can also be passed from one living thing to another when one organism eats another. This cycle is essential to the survival of all living things.
Carbon Cycle Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers
Using an image with some prompts students are going to recreate a model of the carbon cycle. Using arrows to show the movement of carbon in the cycle. Have your students use Textables to then label and write descriptions of each of the processes.
Also known as burning. Combustion is used in many areas of human society. The burning of fossil fuels is used in most forms of transportation and also in the generating of electricity. The general word equation for combustion is fuel + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water.
This process is used by plants to create food. It is a chemical reaction which takes place in green parts of the plant especially in the leaves. The plants react water with carbon dioxide to produce glucose and oxygen. The equation for photosynthesis is 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2.
This is a reaction that takes place in all living things where energy is released from glucose using oxygen. The products of this reaction are carbon dioxide and water. The equation for aerobic respiration is C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O(+ energy).
The process of breaking down organic matter by other living organisms such as worms, bacteria, and fungi. The decomposers then release the carbon into the atmosphere through respiration.
The ocean is a large store carbon dioxide. Some of the dissolved carbon dioxide is used in photosynthesis by organisms like phytoplankton. Some animals in the ocean convert some of the carbon in their diet to calcium carbonate to make their shells. Over time these organisms fall to the seabed, build up and form limestone. This can be exposed over time and the carbon released back into the atmosphere through weathering.
Modify this activity by giving students a list of processes to include in the their diagrams. Extend this activity by having students look at what happens when the organic remains don’t decompose and fossil fuels are made.
Have your students put key vocabulary into practice. One of the things students can find really difficult is using scientific vocabulary correctly and in the appropriate context. Using a visual representation or visual examples as well as a written one can really help students understand abstract concepts.
Fossil fuels are nonrenewable fuels formed from the remains of living organisms formed over millions of years.
The process used by green plants to create from from carbon dioxide and water using sunlight is called photosynthesis.The equation for photosynthesis is 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2.
A chemical reaction used by living things to release energy from glucose is called respiration; it can be aerobic or anaerobic. The equation for aerobic respiration is C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O(+ energy)
The breaking down of organic material by other organisms is decomposition. It is also known as decay.
Combustion is a chemical reaction involving oxygen and a fuel, also known as burning. The word equation for combustion is fuel + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water.
[ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/1] Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively
[ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/4] Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task
[ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/5] Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest
[ELA-Literacy/SL/9-10/6] Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grades 9–10 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)
[SCI-HS-LS2-5] Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
Discussion storyboards are a great way to get your students talking about their ideas in Science. They allow students to critique and evaluate different viewpoints without upsetting other students. This activity can be used at the start of the topic to elicit any misconceptions students may have.
At first, show students a discussion storyboard like the one below. Ask them to look at the problem on the discussion storyboard. It shows four students who all have an idea about the problem in front of them. Students should think about whom they think is the most correct and be prepared to explain why that person is correct. Students might support their position by creating visuals, including text and images, on Storyboard That. These visuals can easily be exported as PowerPoint slides. After students have prepared their argument, have your students discuss their ideas. This discussion can be carried out in a range of different formats. Students could discuss in pairs, small groups or even in a teacher-led, whole class setting. It is important to agree on a list of discussion rules with students before they start so that everybody gets a chance to participate. Students will also be able to practice adapting their speech to a formal debating context and can demonstrate their grasp of formal English.
Here are some other ideas to use these discussion storyboards in your lessons.
Students add another cell on the end of the example you’ve given them to explain whom they think is correct and why.
Students create a storyboard to describe why a student is incorrect, and then "teach" the concept.
Students create their own discussion storyboards to share with peers on the current topic.
Note that the template in this assignment is blank. After clicking "Copy Assignment", add your desired problem and solutions to match the needs of your students.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Read the discussion storyboard that shows four students who all have an idea about the problem in front of them. You are going to give your opinion on whom you think is correct and explain why. You will use your created storyboard to engage in discussion with your peers.
Click "Use this Template" from the assignment.
Add another cell at the end of the row.
Use text and images to explain whom you think is correct and why.
Save and submit the assignment. Make sure to use the drop-down menu to save it under the assignment title.
This activity gets your students to look in more detail at the different processes in the carbon cycle. Students will also demonstrate their knowledge of the chemical reactions by including the word equations. Stretch your students even further by asking them to include the symbol equation for each reaction as well.
Combustion is more commonly known as burning. Humans use this chemical reaction to generate electricity and power the vehicles we use to move around. It release carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. The equation for this reaction is fuel + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water.
This is a process that takes place in many autotrophic living things, such as plants and algae. In plants it takes place mainly in leave but also in other green parts of the plant. It is a chemical reaction the uses sunlight to make glucose from water and carbon dioxide. The word equation for photosynthesis is water + carbon dioxide → glucose + oxygen. The symbol equation for photosynthesis is 6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6 + 6O2.
This is a process that takes place in all living things. Organisms use it to release energy from glucose. It is a chemical reaction that puts carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. The word equation for the aerobic reaction is glucose + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water. The symbol equation for aerobic respiration is C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2 + 6H2O(+ energy).
Alternatively, cut up the example storyboard and get students to put it together as a card sort.
The carbon cycle is composed of a number of processes that cycle carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere. Students will have the opportunity to create models on Storyboard That of these processes.
Combustion is commonly known as burning. It is a chemical reaction that needs oxygen and produces heat. The equation of this reaction is fuel + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water. Combustion is used for many different things in our modern society. It is used to generate electricity for our homes and offices, and it is used to move the cars, trains, and airplanes that people rely on to travel. Fossil fuels, like coal and gasoline, are made of the remains of once-living organisms from millions of years ago. When they are burned, the carbon inside them is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
Photosynthesis is the process plants use to create glucose. Unlike humans, plants are autotrophic, meaning they create their own food. Photosynthesis is a chemical reaction which takes place in all green parts of the plant, but especially in the leaves. The reaction takes place in a part of a plant cell called chloroplasts. Plants use sunlight with carbon dioxide and water to produce oxygen and glucose. The world equation is carbon dioxide + water → oxygen + glucose. The plants get water from the roots and water travels up the stem through tubes called xylem. The plant gets the carbon dioxide from the air that enters the leaves through holes called stomata.
Cellular Respiration is a process which living things use to produce energy. Respiration takes place inside the mitochondria in the cells of living things. Respiration doesn’t just occur in animal, it also occurs in plants and single-celled organisms. The word equation for this reaction is glucose + oxygen → carbon dioxide + water.
Decomposition is the process where dead organisms and waste products are broken down by organisms known as decomposers. The organisms release the carbon into the atmosphere through cellular respiration. Decomposers are essential for recycling the carbon inside dead organisms.
The oceans are also an important part of the carbon cycle. There is a large amount of carbon dioxide dissolved in the seas and oceans all over our planet. Some of the dissolved carbon dioxide is converted into biological carbon through photosynthesis. This is then exchanged from organism to organism through food chains. Some of the carbon is turned into calcium carbonate and used by some organisms to make their shells. When these organisms die they fall to the ocean floor. Over time they build up and they form limestone. Sometimes this limestone can be exposed due to movements in the Earth. Exposed limestone can be weathered which can release carbon back into the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. Increased levels of carbon dioxide, among other gases, in our atmosphere are what experts think is causing our planet to heat up. This effect is called the greenhouse effect. Governments around the world are calling on people to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they are releasing into the atmosphere.
Essential Questions for the Carbon Cycle
How does carbon move from one living thing to another?
How is carbon passed into the atmosphere?
What can we do to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere?