Modeling the Complexities of the Carbon Cycle Utilizing Excel

This set of activities is about carbon sources, sinks, and fluxes among them - both with and without anthropogenic components.

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Andrea Bixler
Lindsay Dubbs
Dave Finster
Harold Geller
Jeanne Troy
CLEAN Community Collection

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Consider beginning the series of activities with the hands-on ping pong ball activity, which illustrates the carbon cycle reservoirs and fluxes, instead of the lecture-discussion of IPCC diagrams.

Students may have difficulty interpreting data displayed on the Excel spreadsheets. Additional directions on the Excel worksheets would assist student success.

The first of the two activities uses the assumption that the tree and major limbs are cylinders and therefore uses the cylinder formula to estimate tree volume. The second activity uses power functions, Excel, and a log-log graph; this second activity is more appropriate for advanced learners.