Activity 1.3: Carbon Pools (20 min)

Target Student Performance

Students identify where carbon atoms are located in ecosystems and groups of organisms that have similar functions (carbon pools).

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


For Activity 3.1, open the 1.3 Carbon Pools PPT and project it. Prepare enough copies of the 1.3 Carbon Pools reading for each student to have one.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.

Show slide 2 of the 1.3 Carbon Pools PPT.


Use the ideas students share during class about ecosystems to formatively assess their familiarity with various ecosystems, types of organisms, and organic versus inorganic carbon.

This Unit builds on previous knowledge about organic versus inorganic carbon and systems at different scales. If students experience difficulty making the connections in this lesson, they should be provided further instruction or review before moving on. See particularly Lesson 2 and Activity 5.3 of the Systems and Scale unit.


Check to see if students are able to identify the difference between organic and inorganic carbon at this point in the unit.

  • Ask students to name examples of producers, herbivores, carnivores, and decomposers from their own experience.
  • Ask students to identify examples of producers, herbivores, carnivores, and decomposers from a trip outside to the school grounds or pictures of familiar ecosystems.
Extending the Learning

Have students use online satellite imagery to take a picture of their neighborhood and identify where the carbon is located near their home or school.