EarthLabs for Educators > Climate and the Carbon Cycle > Lab 8: Balancing the Carbon Cycle: Finding Solutions with Technology

Lab 8: Finding Solutions with Technology

The lab activity described here was developed by Candace Dunlap of TERC for the EarthLabs project.

Open the Student Activity in a New Window Use the button at the right to navigate to the student activity pages for this lab. To open the student pages in a new tab or window, right-click (control-click on a Mac) the "Open the Student Activity" button and choose "Open Link in New Window" or "Open Link in New Tab."

Investigation Summary and Learning Objectives

Lab 8 allows students to discuss, research, evaluate and write about possible design and technological solutions that have the potential to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

After completing this investigation, students will be able to:

For more information about the TOPIC, read the section titled Background Information under Additional Resources below

Activity Overview

In Part A:. Students explore different types of technology that purport to reduce the amount of CO2in the atmosphere. They begin by watching a video about a young middle school age student who develops a way to take CO2out of the air for a science experiment. Next, using an interactive developed for a NOVAScienceNow program, they investigate some pros and cons of carbon sequestration technology.

In Part B: Students take on the role of a science technology blogger who, as part of an interview for a position with Wired magazine, is requested to identify and evaluate the pros and cons of a new and emerging CO2 reduction technology.

Printable Materials

To download one of the PDF or Word files below, right-click (control-click on a Mac) the link and choose "Save File As" or "Save Link As."

Note: There are no Stop and Think questions in this Lab. There is a performance assessment in Lab 8B.

Teaching Notes and Tips

In Part A:

Talk about students' carbon footprint in Lab 3C and Mike Hands change in agricultural practice in Lab 4A. Help them understand that a change in practice can bevery important and effective reducers of CO2 going into the environment. These change in practices are as important as complicated machines and devices. The last discussion in Part A prepares them with the criteria to think about as they head into the performance assessment in Lab 8B.

In Part B:

Students are given multiple suggestions websites and ideas to get them thinking about which carbon reduction design or technology they would like to blog about. You may want to review the lists and revise as needed for your classes.

If having your students write a blog does not fit your needs, students can also do the research and create some other sort of assessment evidence for their process of evaluating technology. For example, students can create an infographic using one of the many infographic -creating sites.

The last part of choosing the best designs is important. As you listen in to the class critiques, you will get a fuller picture of what their strengths and weaknesses are in evaluating technology.


There are several options for assessments of students understanding of material produced in this Lab. Teachers can choose from the following list or create their own assessments.

Assessment Options:

There are no Stop and Think questions in this Lab. Lab 8B has a culminating performance assessment which you should grade. This assessment has students taking on the role of a blogger who has been asked to write a short blog entry on the pros and cons of a carbon-reduction technology. Consider developing your own rubric to grade this assessment.

National Science Teaching Standards

Lab 8 supports the following Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

Science and Engineering Practices

1. Asking Questions and Defining Problems

8. Obtaining, Evaluating and Communicating Information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

ESS3.A Natural Resources

ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth's Systems

ESS3.D Global Climate Change

ETS1.A Defining and Delimiting Engineering Problems

Cross-Cutting Concepts

6. Structure and Function

Additional Resources

Background Information:

There are multiple websites in the student's edition of Lab 8B that students can access for their research.

Content Extension

Consider having students create a media-based project as part of this Lab. A good place for background information, strategies and exemplars can be found at Climate Change in an Age of Media

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