About The Carbon Cycle

The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, pedosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth. Along with the nitrogen cycle and the water cycle, the carbon cycle comprises a sequence of events that are key to making the Earth capable of sustaining life; it describes the movement of carbon as it is recycled and reused throughout the biosphere, including carbon sinks.

For Teachers

Key Concepts

The carbon cycle is a way to describe how carbon atoms move through various forms including soils, the ocean, plant and animal life and fossil fuels. Actions such as photosynthesis, plant and animal death and forest fires all convert carbon from one form into another.

Topics Addressed

  • The Carbon Cycle
  • Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
  • Systems and System Models

Standards Covered

  • MS-LS1-6
  • MS-ESS3-1
  • HS-LS2-5
  • LS1.C
  • LS2.B
  • PS3.D


The Carbon Cycle Game will support exploration of the following concepts:

  • The carbon cycle includes different pools or reservoirs.
  • The carbon moves between different pools or reservoirs.
  • The events or processes that lead to carbon moving between different pools or reservoirs.
  • Time is also a variable in the carbon cycle.
  • Human behavior impacts the carbon cycle.