The Carbon Cycle and its Role in Climate Change
United States Global Research Program
Activity takes about one 45-minute class period.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 4 Science and Engineering Practices
About Teaching Climate Literacy
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Instructors may want to expand the final discussion to include other aspects of the carbon cycle.
- Prepare students ahead of time for the simulation by assigning roles and discussing rules.
- To teach the entire carbon cycle, associated activities 2 and 3 at http://www.globalchange.gov/resources/educators/toolkit/materials would be very beneficial.
- A good assessment for this assignment might be to have students watch a video of this and summarize what is happening in the process.
About the Science
- Model demonstrates how atoms break and make bonds in the processes of photosynthesis and respiration.
About the Pedagogy
- A rare attempt at trying a hands-on physical model to explain important aspects of the carbon cycle.
- Students will likely be very engaged in this activity but it will be easy for them to lose focus.
- Some misconceptions are present about how bonds are created and should be addressed by the educator.