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Contributors to the Carbon Cycle Kit (with perishables)

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Students explore the phenomenon of biologically balanced water gardens by exploring the cycling of carbon through an aquatic system. They use elodea and aquatic snails as model organisms as they seek to understand how both heterotrophs and autotrophs impact the carbon cycle through photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Students collect data to address the driving question, “How can we use evidence to model the ways in which plants and animals can maintain a freshwater aquarium system?”

Time Requirement
Teacher prep, approximately 1 class period before beginning the laboratory investigation and an additional 15 minutes before each component of the lab. Reviewing the pre-lab, conducting the investigation, and completing the assessment, 4 class periods.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectation(s)

Crosscutting Concepts
Systems and System Models

Disciplinary Core Ideas
LS2.B: Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems

Science and Engineering Practices
Developing and Using Models

Learning Objectives

  • Use evidence from collected data to make claims about the relationship between plants and animals in terms of the carbon cycle.
  • Develop and revise a model that identifies and describes the relevant components, including inputs and outputs, of photosynthesis and cellular respiration.
  • Make a claim, based on evidence, about the effects of elevated CO2 levels on the carbon cycle.
  • Evaluate the limitations of using small-scale models to make comparisons with global systems.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students should have a basic understanding of chemical reactions and of the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration, including reactants and products involved in each process. They should have basic knowledge of acids and pH. Students need to have basic experience with models (parts, relationships, and explanations). Models can be drawings with explanations, written paragraphs, etc. Models can also be used to describe unobservable mechanisms. Students should also have a basic understanding that systems have components or parts and system models can be used to explain interactions.


Shipping Information or Purchase Restrictions
  • Exclamation icon USDA or USDOT regulations restrict this item from shipping to these locations: Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin. Restricted states will receive compatible organisms and/or plants. Residents of AK must apply for a permit from your state game and fish department to receive pond snails; residents of HI must contact the HI Dept. of Agriculture before ordering. Canadian orders require a permit from the Canadian government. This item contains living or perishable material and ships via 2nd Day or Overnight delivery.
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