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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


    (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.

    How To Teach Significant Scientific Terminology to ELA Students


    Select Relevant Vocabulary

    Scientific terminology has a really broad scope which can not be covered in a few lectures. Teachers can make separations on the difficulty levels and subjects and focus on a few words at a time. For instance, the terminology used in biology is different from the one used in mathematics.


    Use a Variety of Techniques

    To clarify the terminology, use diagrams, charts, and pictures. This aids understanding, particularly for ELA students. Ask them to repeat the phrases once you pronounce them clearly. This improves pronunciation and comprehension. Engage students in practical exercises or scientific investigations with the terminology.


    Create Vocabulary Boards

    Once the students are done with a specific set of words, ask them to create vocabulary boards where they will use symbols to represent the words, write their meaning and use and also connect them with other words on the board. For instance, How are the terms “Hemisphere” and “Elements” connected?


    Engage in Exercises and Discussions

    Encourage your students to interact and clarify concepts with one another. This helps with retention and strengthens their knowledge. Ask the students to utilize the words in brief essays, paragraphs, and phrases. Their knowledge and utilization are strengthened by this.


    Encourage Independent Research

    Encourage the students to create their own activities for learning and practice different ways to find out more information related to the vocabulary. Students can also watch videos, and pictures or read explanations of the terms using the internet to learn about new things.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Carbon Cycle Vocabulary

    What are some common terminologies students can learn about to understand the concepts in a better way?

    Students can understand the concepts of elements, photosynthesis, biosphere, respiration, compounds, diffusion, etc. to understand the concepts and ideas related to the carbon cycle in a much better way. All these terms and concepts are very important parts of the carbon cycle hence students can first expand their vocabulary and then focus on learning the new concepts.

    How does photosynthesis work?

    Green plants and certain other species use the process of photosynthesis, which uses light energy from the sun, to transform carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen which is practically essential for the survival of plants as well as human beings.

    Describe combustion.

    Burning organic material, like wood or fossil fuels, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and is referred to as combustion.

    How to explain the concept of carbon compounds to students?

    In molecules known as carbon compounds, carbon atoms are joined to additional elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and more. They are the building blocks of all life. Teachers show visual pictures of these compounds and use real-life examples to explain these concepts.

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