EarthLabs > Climate and the Carbon Cycle: Unit Overview > Lab 2: The Carbon Cycle

The Carbon Cycle: What Goes Around, Comes Around.


Imagine that you live in a large, complex city like New York with lots of different neighborhoods and with people, cars, and trains moving at different speeds between those neighborhoods. Like New York city, carbon moves at different speeds into and out of the "neighborhoods" of the Earth System, changing as it moves.

In Lab 2, you will investigate how carbon moves (cycles) through the "neighborhoods" of the Earth System - the atmosphere, the hydrosphere (Earth's oceans), the geosphere (Earth's soils and rock layers) and the biosphere (all the living organisms that exist on Earth). As you can see in the carbon cycle diagram below, carbon moves around quite a bit - just like New York taxi cabs! As you investigate the carbon cycle, you will find answers to the following essential questions:

By the end of Lab 2, you will be able to:

In Part A, you will take a carbon journey through a forest carbon cycle. In this activity, you will explore the importance of biosphere processes in moving carbon through a forest ecosystem.

In Part B, you will use a carbon cycle interactive to determine how carbon moves through the global carbon cycle.

In Part C, you will use systems thinking strategies to identify causal connections and feedbacks in a complex system - the Carbon Cycle.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions. Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.

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