Carbon cycle in the lab: carbon products and the processes that link them (for pupils)


The carbon cycle is a “big idea” that can be difficult to understand because parts of it work at a microscopic scale while other parts affect the whole of the Earth. Also, some parts happen in milliseconds whilst others can take millions of years to have an effect.

We can get a feel for how the whole carbon cycle works by turning the lab. into a model of the carbon cycle and seeing how the different things that are produced in the cycle (the products) fit together with the way those products are made (the processes).

What you need

A copy of the carbon cycle diagram (below).

What to do

Watch your teacher lay out the products of the carbon cycle in the correct places around the room, then write down these examples on your copy of the carbon cycle.

Then use your carbon cycle diagram to answer the following questions.


Which products of the carbon cycle:

Q 1.     can you see out of the window?

Q 2.     can you never see?

Q 3.     might you see in a quarry?

Q 4.     are fluids?

Q 5.     last the longest?

Q 6.     might affect global warming?