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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 26 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


Black Carbon: Dirty Sidekick of CO2

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  • This short animated video personifies particulate matter, also known as black carbon, demonstrating where it comes from, how it affects the environment and climate, and ways to reduce it.
  • The video highlights a significant cause of climate change and air pollution that is often overlooked.
Teaching Tips


  • The video simplifies a complex scientific topic in a fun and easy-to-understand way.
  • Through graphics, animations, and storytelling, the video presents both a problem and a variety of solutions.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video is part of the Our Climate Our Future Shorts series.
  • You may need to zoom out or use the full-screen mode to see the whole picture on the screen.
  • The suggestion to use pellets, which are made from trees, should be evaluated with students, as the demand for pellets has led to increasing rates of deforestation in many parts of the world.


  • It may be helpful for students to take notes throughout the video or pause after topics, as the video presents a lot of information in a short amount of time.
  • This video can also be used in health or biology classes during lessons about the effects of fine particulate matter and pollution on the respiratory system and overall health.
  • As an extension, older and more advanced students can use this tool to map where levels of black carbon may be highest in the United States.
  • This video on CO2 and fossil fuels and this video on CO2 and climate change may help provide context and useful background information. 
  • Have students write down any terms they are unfamiliar with as they watch the video and then work in pairs to define them.
Scientist Notes
This video introduces and discuses black carbon and its impact on the climate, vegetation, and human health. Additionally, the sources and potential options to reduce black carbon are discussed. The video does recognize how difficult reducing black carbon would be but provides hope for how this can be done. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • MS-ESS3-5 Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
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