Carbon Adventures: A game to teach the carbon cycle


AreaLife Sciences 

 Grade Level: 6-12

Created in 200


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This lesson plan is designed to introduce the complexity of the carbon cycle to students. By the end of the game,
students should understand that carbon can take many forms throughout the carbon cycle, and that no set pathway exists in the cycle


The students will be able to:
• Describe what is carbon.
• Describe the difference between organic and inorganic carbon.
• Identify different carbon pools.
• Identify different forms carbon takes throughout the carbon cycle.
• Describe paths in which carbon can move throughout the environment.
• Describe how humans influence the carbon cycle

Keywords: Carbon Cycle, Carbon, Building Blocks of life, Fossil fuels.


National Standard (Grades 5-8): 

Physical Sciences: Properties and Changes of properties in matter

Life Science: Populations and Ecosystems. 

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Populations, resources and environments.

National Standard (Grades 9-12): 

 Physical Sciences: Conservation of energy and increase in disorder

 Life Science: Matter, energy and organization in living systems 

 Earth and Space Sciences: Geochemical cycles

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Personal and community health, Natural Resources,                        Environmental Quality, Natural and human-induced hazards, science and technology in local, national and global challenges.

Arizona State Standards: (Grades 8)

Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives                                                                             

Concept 1: Changes in Environments: Describe the interactions between human populations, natural hazards and the environment.

PO1: Analyze the risk factors associated with natural, human induced, and/or biological hazards, including waste disposal of industry chemicals, greenhouse gases.

Strand 5: Physical Science

Concept 1: Properties and Changes of Properties in Matter.

PO1. Identify different kinds of matter based on the following physical properties: states, density, boiling point, melting point and solubility.

(Grades 9-12)

Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

Concept 1: Changes in Environments: Describe the interactions between human populations, natural hazards, and the environment

PO1, PO2, PO3, PO4, PO5.

Concept 2: Science and Technology in Society - Develop viable solutions to a need or problem


Concept 3: Human Population Characteristics - Analyze factors that affect human populations

PO2, PO3

Strand 4: Life Science

Concept 3: Interdependence of Organisms - Analyze the relationships among various organisms and their environment


Concept 5: Matter, Energy, and Organization in Living Systems (Including human Systems) -Understand the organization of living systems, and the role of energy within those systems.

PO1, PO3

Strand 5: Physical Science

Concept 5: Interactions of Energy and Matter - Understand the interactions of energy and matter


Strand 6: Earth and Space Science

Concept 1: Geochemical Cycles - Analyze the interactions between the Earth's structures, atmosphere, and geochemical cycles.




 Instructions (pdf / doc)
 Lesson Plans (pdf / doc)
 Game Board (ppt)
 Animal Cards (doc)
 Atmosphere Cards (doc)
 Bacteria and Fungi Cards (doc)
 Fossil Fuels Cards (doc
 IV Cards (doc
 Litter and Waste Cards (doc
 Ocean Cards (doc
 Vegetation Cards (doc)  
 Carbon Cycel Game Worksheet (doc)  
 Carbon Cycle Picture Worksheet (doc)
 Comprehension Worksheet (doc)

References and Related Links:


CarbonCycleGameBoard.jpg1.58 MB