1-2 Activity 7: Carbon on the Move


This activity serves as an introduction to the carbon cycle, with an emphasis on the role of forests in the cycle. The simulation portion of the activity involves students moving through the pools and fluxes of the biological carbon cycle. Then group work and class discussion provide concepts about the geological carbon cycle and how to put the two together in the context of fossil fuel combustion.


Full Activity (with student pages included)

Student Pages

Presentations and Teacher Notes

Answer Key

Supporting Materials


You can find more related websites at the end of
Activity 7
or check out Additional Resources for the entire module.


Teacher Comments

Some students didn’t like the fact that they had to stay at one station. It is important that they know that sometimes carbon will not really move around.
Environmental Issues and Research Teacher, Georgia
My students are already familiar with the carbon cycle, so the additional discussion and group work after the activity were great to deepen their knowledge of what they already know.
Biology Teacher, Kentucky
I had my students write a short story with their own carbon movement. They had to write the story about each step and explain what happened to them as they moved from one place to another.
Environmental Issues and Research Teacher, Georgia
This was an excellent activity. All of my students, from the advanced to the inclusion self-contained students, could participate and enjoyed the kinesthetic movement. It worked so well that I replicated it for their studies of the other biogeochemical cycles, which were equally successful.
Biology I and Biotechnical Engineering Teacher, South Carolina
A great debate ensued in one of the classes on the moral/ethical reasons behind wanting and not wanting to cut down forests and overall what sustainability means in light of this activity. They had a good debate/discussion.
IB Biology II Teacher, Florida
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