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Activity Overview

One thing students often find difficult is using new scientific vocabulary correctly and in the appropriate context. When starting a unit, it can be helpful to introduce them to all the new terminology and have them create visual vocabulary boards that define and illustrate each word. Having a visual example along with the definition can help students understand abstract concepts.

Carbon Cycle Vocabulary

  • Atmosphere
  • Biosphere
  • Carbonates
  • Hydrosphere
  • Dissolving
  • Combustion
  • Photosynthesis
  • Fossil fuels
  • Decomposer
  • Carbon
  • Fungi
  • Geosphere
  • Bacteria
  • Decomposition
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Chloroplasts
  • Atmosphere
  • Respiration
  • Diffusion
  • Aerobic Respiration
  • Anaerobic Respiration
  • Oxygen

  • Template and Class Instructions

    (These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

    Student Instructions

    Create a spider map defining and illustrating key carbon cycle vocabulary.

    1. Click "Start Assignment".
    2. Choose five vocabulary words and type them in the title boxes.
    3. Find the definition in a print or online dictionary and write it under the cell in a complete sentence.
    4. Illustrate the meaning of the word in the cell using a combination of scenes, characters, and items.
      • Alternatively, use Photos for Class to give examples of the words.

    Lesson Plan Reference

    Common Core Standards
    • [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.


    (You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

    Science Vocabulary Assignment
    Define, illustrate, or give examples of scientific key words.
    33 Points
    16 Points
    0 Points
    The vocabulary word is correctly defined.
    The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is awkward.
    The vocabulary word is not clearly defined.
    The storyboard cell clearly illustrates the meaning of the vocabulary word.
    The storyboard cell has clear examples of the key word.
    The storyboard cell relates to the meaning of the vocabulary word, but is difficult to understand.
    The storyboard cell has some unclear examples of the key word.
    The storyboard cell does not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary word.
    The storyboard cell does not have clear examples of the key word.
    Evidence of Effort
    Work is well written and carefully thought out.
    Work shows some evidence of effort.
    Work shows little evidence of any effort.

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