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Forest Ecosystems & The Carbon Cycle

Subject ScienceBiology
Grade Level Grades 9-12
Resource Type Lesson Plan
Standards Alignment


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In this lesson, students learn about carbon sequestration and measure trees on their campus to assess the amount of carbon they contain.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students use their knowledge of photosynthesis to consider how human activities, specifically land use, have disrupted the carbon cycle. 

Step 2 - Investigate:  Students take a walk to select a tree on campus or in the neighborhood, measure the DBH of their tree, and enter their data onto a spreadsheet to obtain the biomass and mass of carbon sequestered.

Step 3 - Inspire:  Students discuss the cultural value of forests and their ability to act as carbon sinks and take action by choosing to protect trees through non-profit advocacy groups or by educating others.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Explain the carbon cycle and how forests play a role in the carbon cycle.
  • Measure the DBH of trees and use the DBH to estimate the amount of carbon it stores.
  • Tell others why carbon sequestration is a potential solution to climate change.

This lesson is aligned to Oregon standards.

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Carbon Sequestration on Campus.pdf

Lesson Plan
October 25, 2023
0.9 MB
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Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.
Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.
Graph functions using technology to show key features.


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