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Using the Carbon Cycle Interactive Game in the Classroom

Lisa Gardiner, Julia Genyuk, Windows to the Universe

In this activity, students learn how carbon cycles through the Earth system by playing an online game.

Game takes 20 minutes class time plus optional assessments.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases / Carbon cycle
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Humans affect climate
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Humans affect climate

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
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.

Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines

2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:A) Processes that shape the Earth
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A) Processes that shape the Earth.
2. Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems:2.1 The Earth as a Physical System:B) Changes in matter
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B) Changes in matter.

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

  • Follow use of the interactive with a more scientific explanation of processes working in each of the reservoirs.

About the Science

  • Very simplified description of the carbon cycle, with concepts possibly being oversimplified. Numbers listed in the interactive should be checked by an expert, especially as the increase of CO2 is likely higher now.
  • Comment from expert scientist: The game provides a very nice and fun approach to understand all compartments of Earth where carbon is stored and cycled and how these parts interact with each other. The provided links give age-appropriate information to understand additional concepts.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students answer a series of true-false questions while they play the carbon cycle game.
  • The game has no ending - player keeps playing and choosing different pathways - models what a "cycle" really is.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Extensive background materials for teachers.

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