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Carbon Cycle Animation

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This animation depicts the carbon cycle in a fashion that is suited for younger audiences. The video discusses how carbon enters and exits the environment through both natural and human-driven ways.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Greenhouse effect
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Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
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Equilibrium and feedback loops in climate system
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Climate is complex
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Evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change
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Climate change has consequences
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Energy Literacy

Fossil and bio fuels are organic matter that contain energy captured from sunlight.
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4.3 Fossil and bio fuels contain energy captured from sunlight.
Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by Earth's internal and external sources of energy.
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2.5 Energy moves between reservoirs.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
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2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Animation would have to complement existing curriculum materials as none are provided on website.
  • Could either be used to introduce the carbon cycle or to review key ideas.
  • More supporting materials that specifically align with animation would be recommended.

About the Science

  • This video defines and clarifies what carbon is and its cycle in the Earth system in a manner that is suited for younger audiences but can be accessible to many learners.
  • Comment from expert scientist: The carbon cycle video is an accurate account of current knowledge regarding changes in the carbon cycle due to anthropogenic activities and does it in a simple way, with analogies, that kids can understand without going into quantitative data.

About the Pedagogy

  • The graphics, text, and narration included in the video work well together to lead to comprehension of a complex topic.
  • The video will help to teach about the how the carbon-cycle is being impacted by human activity.
  • Uses a bathtub analogy that could be helpful for students to conceptualize why the carbon cycle is being altered.
  • No supporting educational classroom materials or activities online.

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