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Carbon Cycle Animation

Maree Lucas, West Virginia University Online

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This interactive graphic outlines the carbon cycle, with clickable text boxes that explain and elaborate each component.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

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

  • This is a good, uncomplicated carbon cycle interactive to use with any lesson on the carbon cycle. It would be especially useful for middle school. Educator could supplement the text on fossil fuels and explain the differences in how oil, coal, and gas are formed.

About the Science

  • Students interact with various components of the carbon cycle. Some of the science may be overly simplistic - especially information about fossil fuels.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Goes through all aspects of the carbon cycle and relates them. Simple animations aid with understanding and are fun to view. Some parts are well explained for the average person.

About the Pedagogy

  • Written for middle school students and uses clear, uncluttered language.
  • Students can begin at any stage, which reinforces the idea that there is no beginning or endpoint to the cycle.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Good technical quality.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

MS-C4:Systems and System Models

High School

Performance Expectations: 2

HS-ESS2-6: Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.

HS-LS2-5: Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-LS2.B3:Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important components of the carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.

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