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MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


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

Resource Types

  • Podcasts, 12 minutes, 24 minutes
  • Lesson Plans
  • Articles and Websites
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Worksheets
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus




Carbon Capture and Climate Change

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  • In this lesson, students will learn how some carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels can be captured and stored underground or used in some manufacturing processes. 
  • Students will listen to a podcast about carbon capture and storage, complete an activity about using captured carbon dioxide to make sustainable concrete, read and discuss articles about carbon capture topics, and learn about carbon capture facilities around the world using an interactive map. 
Teaching Tips


  • The podcast features interviews with Howard Herzog, the senior research engineer for the MIT Energy Initiative, and MIT professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences Brad Hager.
  • Students will learn about many aspects of carbon capture from a variety of sources.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand the role that carbon dioxide plays in climate change.
  • The Concrete Without Quarries activity requires several materials. It is part of a lesson that is designed to take two 60-minute classes.


  • In classes with a variety of reading levels, teachers may want to modify the reading and discussion tasks so that students read one article per small group and have the groups present their findings to the class.
  • Economics and civics classes could discuss the prospects of using incentives or a carbon tax to get companies to capture and store carbon.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on using kelp to capture carbon, this PBS video on large-scale carbon capture, and this video on using captured carbon to make concrete.
Scientist Notes
This resource includes a podcast in which two MIT experts are interviewed and present an overview of carbon capture, utilization, and storage strategies and how they might be implemented worldwide. These strategies might play a critical role into addressing climate change, although setting up the infrastructure is expensive. A transcript and educator's guide, along with additional resource links, are provided. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • PS1: Matter and its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-2 Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
    • PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
      • HS-PS2-6 Communicate scientific and technical information about why the molecular-level structure is important in the functioning of designed materials.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
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