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ZingPath: Cycling of Matter

Carbon Cycle

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Cycling of Matter

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Lesson Focus

Carbon Cycle


Learning Made Easy

You will discover and learn about natural resources by focusing on renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy. To test your understanding, you will then be responsible for meetingthe energy needs of a small island.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Describe the flow of matter through the carbon cycle,
  • Summarize the role of microorganisms in the carbon cycle,
  • Summarize the role of producers and consumers in the carbon cycle.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What role do producers, consumers, and decomposers play in the carbon cycle?

~ Producers synthesize their food through photosynthesis using energy from sunlight and carbon dioxide from the air. Their respiration returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Consumers use the food produced by producers for energy. Their respiration also returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Decomposers break down plant and animal waste products. They also break down dead plants and animals. The decomposing process releases carbon dioxide gas into the atmosphere.

How do fossil fuels and volcanic activities contribute to the carbon cycle?

~ When fossil fuels are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere in the form of gas. When volcanoes erupt, carbon dioxide that was in the magma passes into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas.

How is carbon returned to the Earth and sea in the carbon cycle?

~ Carbon is returned to the Earth and sea in the form of precipitation after carbon dioxide mixes with rain and snow. Erosion is another way that carbon is returned to the sea. When shellfish die, the carbon that was in their shells collects at the bottom of the ocean and eventually forms sedimentary rocks.

Give one example of a human activity that could disrupt the carbon cycle as well as the consequences of this disruption.

~ Burning fossil fuels can disrupt the carbon cycle, since they increase carbon dioxide in the air, which can lead to environmental problems such as acid rain.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should have a general understanding of carbon cycle, consumer, and decomposer.
Course Biology
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary carbon cycle, consumer, decomposer