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Carbon Cycles and Energy Flow through Ecosystems and the Biosphere

In this analysis and discussion activity, students learn why the biosphere requires a continuous inflow of energy, but does not need an inflow of carbon atoms. Students analyze how the process of photosynthesis illustrates the general principles of conservation of matter and the second Law of Thermodynamics.

Then, students analyze how carbon cycles and energy flow through ecosystems result from photosynthesis, biosynthesis, cellular respiration, and the trophic relationships in food webs. Thus, students learn how important ecological phenomena result from processes at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels.

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in distance learning and online instruction. The Teacher Notes, available in the last two attached files, provide instructional suggestions and background information and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards.

carbon cycle energy flow SH.docx1.32 MB
carbon cycle energy flow SH.pdf424.32 KB
carbon cycle energy flow TN .docx165.22 KB
carbon cycle energy flow TN .pdf320.42 KB


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