Carbon Cycle

This activity from NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory introduces students to the current scientific understanding of the greenhouse effect and the carbon cycle. The activity leads them through several interactive tasks investigating recent trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Students analyze scientific data and use scientific reasoning to determine the causes responsible for these recent trends. By studying carbon cycle science in a visual and interactive manner, the activity provides students with a conceptual framework with which to address the challenges of a changing climate.

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NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory
Activity takes about four 45-minute class periods or one 3-hour lab period.

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Make a worksheet with the questions posed after each step of the task to force students to write their answers. Some students may need a similar worksheet for the Basics section.

Educators may want learners to begin with an exploration of the visualization to look for trends before they launch into the reading.

Different locations can be assigned to different groups to reduce the repetitiveness of the activity as described.

Video on "What's in the Air" about NOAA's Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases group can help provide background on the program:

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