Carbon Cycle
Carbon is found in both LIVING and NONLIVING things.

Carbon is often called the element of life because it is found in all living things.  However, it is also found in NON-living things!  Carbon constantly cycles back and forth between different living things and their environments, and we call this process the carbon cycle.

20170524 Carbon Cycle a
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When an animal breathes, it releases carbon into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide gas.  When plants take in that gas for photosynthesis, the carbon goes into the plants and are used to build more fibers inside that plant.  Later, when the same animal eats the plants, the carbon returns to the animal again.  This example may be a bit oversimplified, but it is trying to make a point: That carbon constantly moves between organisms and the environment.

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.

MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

HS-LS1-5. Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.

HS-LS1-6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.

HS-LS2-3. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

HS-LS2-4. Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.

HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.

What Science Does this Comic Teach?

Unit: Ecology

⇒Chapter: Cycles of Matter

⇒Topic: Carbon Cycle

Additional Information


Carbon can be found in compounds such as carbon dioxide, sugar, starch, plant fibers…etc. Carbon is an element that moves around from place to place very often.  For exampe, when you eat a plant, its carbon (fibers, sugar…etc.) goes into your body.  When your body breaks the plant’s nutrients down, part of those nutrients become carbon dioxide and gets released out of your body and into the atmosphere (as you breathe out).

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