As a group or individually, ask students to identify some human activities that affect the carbon cycle (e.g., burning fossil fuels, deforestation, etc.).
AP environmental science classes can use this resource to connect the carbon cycle to fossil fuel use and the environmental impacts of adding extra carbon to the carbon cycle.
This 9-minute video presents some examples of the carbon cycle primarily through the molecule carbon dioxide (CO2) and the processes of photosynthesis and combustion. The resource navigates through complex topics clearly, although some phrases, such as autotrophs, which are forms of life that can produce their own food for energy (such as plants) are not defined explicitly. Nonetheless, this resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS2: Earth's Systems
HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
HS-LS1-6 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
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.