The carbon cycle is the way carbon is distributed in the earth.
In the image, you can see the flow of carbon between land, atmosphere, and ocean. The numbers show, in gigatons of carbon per year, the natural fluxes of carbon (the yellow numbers), the human contributions (red numbers), and stored carbon (white numbers).
Humans and other mammals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
Waste and Decay
Carbon can be released into the environment through waste and decay. Animals produce solid waste products that go into the soil and water, while leaves, roots, wood and dead animals decay.
Burning fossil fuels and wood releases stored carbon into the atmosphere.
The carbon that is released into the environment is used by many plants and animals. This is the part of the carbon cycle that removes carbon from the atmosphere.
Plants and algae take in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.
The majority of photosynthesisÂ occurs in the oceans by algae and phytoplankton. Also, due to the large surface area of the oceans, carbon dioxide diffuses in and out in an attempt to equalize.
Shells and bones
Many sea creatures take in carbon when making shells and bones. When these animals die and sink to the ocean floor, this carbon is stored for some time.
What are your questions about the carbon cycle? What are your students’ hardest questions? We’ll be answering your queries as we explore the carbon cycle more in the next few articles.
Illustrate the difference between a physical and chemical reaction: after showing your student how the snow absorbs water, let the water evaporate for a few days. The snow powder is the same stuff you started with.
Teach the concept of Conservation of Mass. Weigh the snow before adding water. Add water, then let it evaporate. Weigh the snow powder again. It is the same.
Demonstrate the concept of absorption
Decorating with fake snow
Sprinkle on your Christmas tree, holiday decoration displays, and your mantle display
Harvester ants are HUGE. These arenâ€™t your run-of-the-mill tiny sidewalk ants. Even without a magnifying glass, you can clearly see their mandibles and other body parts.
The Giant Ant Farm is fantastic for more than one child. The large, double-sided viewing area gives plenty of space for kids to come close and observe the ants.
The only drawback is the base: weâ€™ve accidentally knocked it over a couple times. Then again, we have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, so accidents are not unexpected. I expect that older kids wouldnâ€™t knock it over. A large-base alternative–that wonâ€™t get knocked over–is the ant hill, which has a smaller viewing area but is more stable.
Taking care of the ants
Ants are low-maintenance. They just require a few squirts of water and crumbs of food. The ant farm came with a yearâ€™s supply of food, which makes it easy to feed them.
For all ages
My 4-year-old and a 2-year-old were absolutely fascinated when we set up the ant farm. Elementary aged kids will love the farm, as well–and they will be thrilled to see the tunnels the ants build.
I find it fascinating to watch the ants, too. You can see how they communicate and react to events–like water raining on their farm. Itâ€™s unbelievable that, even though no one ant is directing them, they still manage to get communal activities done. At first, theyâ€™d dig and refill each othersâ€™ tunnels, but now theyâ€™ve built several together.
The people-eating ants in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are real. Or, at least, modeled off of real ants: Dorylus ants from Africa. These army ants march in columns of up to 50 million ants and, like the Indiana Jones ants, kill and eat animals. The real Dorylus ants, however, usually limit themselves to large rats, though they have been known to eat small zebras.
Slavemaker ants starve on their own. Slavemaker ants raid another species of ants, steal their larvae, and use the other species as slaves to care for slavemaker eggs and larave, to get food, defend the nest, and even to enslave more ants. However, the slavemakers are so dependent on other species that without their slaves,Â slavemakers will starve to death, even if there’s plenty of food around.