What is Carbon TIME?


Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) is a science education program that includes publicly available teaching units, assessments, teacher professional development, and teacher networks based in local education agencies. Since 2015, 145 teachers and over 25,000 students from across the U.S. have participated in Carbon TIME. Evidence demonstrates that participating students achieve challenging three-dimensional learning goals consistent with NGSS.

The teaching units, designed for middle and high school science classes, focus on processes that transform matter and energy at multiple scales:

  • Cellular and atomic molecular: combustion, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, digestion, and biosynthesis
  • Organismal: growth and metabolism in plants, animals, and decomposers
  • Ecosystem: matter cycling and energy flow
  • Earth systems: carbon cycling and climate change

Carbon TIME units engage students in three-dimensional reasoning about these topics as questioners, investigators, and explainers.

Carbon TIME materials are developed by the Environmental Literacy Project at Michigan State University. The principal investigator is Charles W. (Andy) Anderson: andya@msu.edu.


Watch Videos about Carbon TIME

Carbon TIME overview (4:27)

Teachers and students share about their experiences with Carbon TIME (9:59)

Carbon TIME research: Understanding how students learn and effects of Carbon TIME on student learning (14:06)


Carbon TIME Materials and Resources


Curriculum Units




Library of Educator Resources