The Carbon Cycle

Created using Comic Life

Learning Intention: Students will understand the processes involved in the carbon cycle – photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition, combustion and fossil-fuel formation.

Success Criteria: A product that demonstrates their understanding by providing an explanation of each of these processes.

Your assessment task for this unit of work is to produce an artefact that explains your understanding of the carbon cycle. It might be a poster, video, Voicethread, cartoon or slideshow. You could use Comic Life, ToonDoo, a common-craft style video or another tool. Make sure you include the following processes:

  • Photosynthesis – green plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate (glucose) that is used by all other living organisms as the source of food. (absorbs CO2 and H2O and releases O2)
  • Respiration – all living organisms (with the exception of a few bacteria) use oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy, releasing carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere. (Requires O2 and releases CO2 and H2O)
  • Decomposition – Bacteria and fungi break down organic matter (leaves, wood, dead animals etc) into carbon dioxide and water during respiration.(Requires O2 and releases CO2 and H2O)
  • Fossil Fuel formation – Oil, coal and gas are formed after millions of years under extreme pressure and high temperatures, from once living organisms such as trees and microscopic algae.
  • Combustion – wood, gas, oil, coal and other carbon-containing compounds can be burnt with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. (Requires O2 and releases CO2 and H2O)

Some useful resources:

Elements and Compounds

Image Source

So far this year, you have learned about the following:

  • An atom consists of positively charged protons and neutrons with no charge in a nucleus in the centre of the atom and much smaller electrons, which are negatively charged and on the outside of the atom.
  • Molecules are tiny particles made up of more than one atom. A water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.
  • Elements are pure substances that are made up of one type of atom. There are 92 naturally occurring elements and some man-made elements.
  • Compounds are substances made up of more than one type of atom, tightly bound together. They can look and behave very differently to the elements that they are made up of.
  • Elements are organised in the periodic table according to the number of protons in their nucleus. Hydrogen is #1 because it has one proton, helium is number 2 because it has 2 protons etc.
  • Each column of the periodic table contains elements with characteristics in common – the noble gases in Group 8 are all very non-reactive elements for example.

Your assessment task for this unit of work is to produce an artefact that explains your understanding of the carbon cycle. It might be a poster, video, Voicethread, cartoon or slideshow. You could use Comic Life, ToonDoo, a common-craft style video or another tool. Make sure you include the following processes:

  • Photosynthesis – green plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate (glucose) that is used by all other living organisms as the source of food.
  • Respiration – all living organisms (with the exception of a few bacteria) use oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy, releasing carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere.
  • Decomposition – Bacteria and fungi break down organic matter (leaves, wood, dead animals etc) into carbon dioxide and water during respiration.
  • Fossil Fuel formation – Oil, coal and gas are formed after millions of years under extreme pressure and high temperatures, from once living organisms such as trees and microscopic algae.
  • Combustion – wood, gas, oil, coal and other carbon-containing compounds can be burnt with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide.

The Carbon Cycle – “My Life as a Carbon Atom”

photosynthesis comic

Your task is to write a short story titled “My Life as a Carbon Atom” to demonstrate your understanding of the following processes:

  • Photosynthesis – green plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate (glucose) that is used by all other living organisms as the source of food.
  • Respiration – all living organisms (with the exception of a few bacteria) use oxygen to convert carbohydrates into energy, releasing carbon dioxide and water into the atmosphere.
  • Decomposition – Bacteria and fungi break down organic matter (leaves, wood, dead animals etc) into carbon dioxide and water during respiration.
  • Fossil Fuel formation – Oil, coal and gas are formed after millions of years under extreme pressure and high temperatures, from once living organisms such as trees and microscopic algae.
  • Combustion – wood, gas, oil, coal and other carbon-containing compounds can be burnt with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide.

Your story should be at least 500 words long (100 words for each process) and be written from the perspective of a carbon atom. Take your inspiration from the videos (Clickview “Carbon Cycle” and the DVD “Crude”) and use the carbon cycle diagram on page 47 of Science Quest 2.

You can also use “Comic Life”, “Vociethread’, “Photostory”, “Kerpoof” or “Storybird” to illustrate your story.

Due Tuesday 15th March

fossil fuels comic