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carbon cycle for an observed lesson

Discussion in 'Science' started by sarahcossins, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Hi
    I'm a PGCE student and i've got an observation from uni, there coming to see me teach carbon cycle, I had a lesson planned but its very boring and dull and wanted to alter it to make it more fun so hopefully it will be better for an observation.
    I was recommended to try it as a jigsaw but not sure how that works, any tips on how this can be taught in a way thats fun would be great.
  2. Wow Sarah, you are having a mare with this topic, you have all the dull and dry stuff to teach. I have never taught this but have seen it done with a huge diagram at the front and each member of the group has 2 (just 2) chances to go up and bring some information back to construct their own information. They could then self assess their information compared to other groups'.
    You could have a discussion (starter perhaps but keep it structured for obs) about how carbon in out bodies has been recycled from other people. If you make it a bit weird they will immediately be into it (it works so well for water cycle - but that does seem gross to them).
    The other thing you could do to keep it lively would be to and run a quick on the draw activity with then (perhaps as a plenary) http://www.english-teaching.co.uk/learninglearning/quickonthedrawpg.pdf It is essential that you are clear with the rules and running of this and you should try it so the kids are familiar with the routine. It is a grat activity for fun and really does liven things up.
    Just a few ideas, try to keep it active with lots of short activities and if you are not comfortable with the quick on the draw and they are a 'lively' class you may want to use it next time once they are familiar with it. You'll do fine, you are already using your head and sharing on here (something I have only recently started doing) so you will get loads of good ideas. The people on here are so knowledgable and willing to help, i wish I'd known this in my PCGE year.

  3. goo18731

    goo18731 New commenter

    Get practical! Get the kids to do the lime cycle part of the carbon cycle. So long as you can trust them to behave with bunsens and red-hot limestone chips, this is great to do. Use that simple cycle as a hook to the bigger carbon cycle.
    Start with "limestone" (calcium carbonate chips) and get them to heat one chip with the tip of the inner bunsen flame on a gauze until glowing red.
    No apparent change, but they have converted calcium carbonate into calcium oxide (quicklime) with loss of CO2. They can then discover a change has happened - limestone doesn't react with water, the heated chip (after it has cooled) will react exothermically with drops of water and crack. Now add more water (15ml), stir, filter off unreacted limestone and check pH of filtrate(alkaline since the CaO reacted with water to give calcium hydroxide). Now, calcium hydroxide is better known as limewater and they can demonstrate this by blowing through a straw into it (don't suck!). This gives the faliliar milkiness as calcium carbonate is produced. Wait a minute! that's what we started with! Nice little cycle, an so long as you are willing to accept simplifications (e.g the precipitate is calcium hydrogen carbonate), this can show a cycle of CaCO3 to CaO (loss of CO2) to CaOH to CaCO3 (gaining CO2),

    Hope that helps

  4. sadscientist

    sadscientist Senior commenter

    I agree a good intro helps - I start with carbon as the basis of life on Earth because it's a party animal that interacts (ahem) so well with so many other elements in just about every position you can think of! Could discuss what 'organic' means. Great practical ideas above but are you teaching it in the Bio or Chem as it comes up in both? I have set homeworks imagining you're a Carbon atom and describing what happens to you during a trip round the Carbon cycle - creative ones enjoy it. Good luck!
  5. I have often thought of getting them to make a game (or designing one myself). You could get a point every time you get back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Miss a turn or two as fossil fuel etc.
    Failing that if you subscribe to e chalk there is a good animation

  6. I'm teaching it as part of p2, which is physics, radiation and life, its linked with global warming and climate change.

  7. thanks for a good comment did, i would like know the effect derived from deforestation on carbon cycle
  8. how do yourelate global warmin, climate change and deforestation
  9. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Do you have a bell jar?
    Put a candle inside the bell jar and see how long it burns for.
    Allow fresh air to refill the jar. Then place the same candle and a plant inside the jar. Ask the question will the candle burn a longer or shorter time?
    In reality it won't make a measurable difference but you should be able to tease out of them an idea that the candle produces CO2 and the plant takes it in and excretes O2.

    This could link in to the effect of deforestation (although I have always wondered how this works as the forest are replaced with crops which probably absorb more CO2 that the original trees).

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