i-Tree Unit Lesson 4: Carbon Cycle


Activity Description: 

In Lesson 3, students concluded that carbon dioxide impacts the ecosystem by heating the air, resulting in more evaporation and transpiration. Students also gained an understanding that human activity (i.e., their morning commute to school) produces carbon dioxide. In Lesson 4: Carbon Cycle, students explore the ways that carbon is both produced and sequestered. Next, they create and label a diagram of the carbon cycle and write a paragraph about how they would reduce carbon in the atmosphere. The background information provides context for the ways that urban trees can reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the air and cool the local temperature.

Educational Standards: 

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS­LS1­6: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.

MS­ESS3­4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per­capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems. 

Common Core:

CCSS.ELA ­LITERACY.RST.6­8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).


Chart or a large sticky­note pad to record student responses to the prompts in the Too Much Carbon section. Carbon Producers Reductions.

The Carbon Cycle slideshow

One Class Period
i-Tree, http://www.itreelessons.com/