Climate Science: The Issue With Carbon

Climate Science: The Issue With Carbon

Lesson 3 of 3 in this unit

  • Cool+
  • Secondary
  • Year 9
  • Science
  • Earth and Space
  • Environmental
  • Climate Change
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students will look at carbon, the carbon cycle and carbon dioxide (CO2). They will understand how human activities are resulting in rising CO2 levels in our atmosphere, and they will explore how these levels are measured and how actions to reduce CO2 levels can be communicated. 

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • know that the carbon cycle moves carbon through our Earth and atmosphere
  • know that CO2 occurs naturally in our atmosphere but that human activities are causing CO2 levels to rise
  • recognise actions we can take to reduce our personal CO2 emissions.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • describe the slow and fast carbon cycles and how humans are impacting these cycles
  • communicate the CO2 emissions associated with daily actions.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Climate Change Factsheet
Talking About Climate Change

Lesson details


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • creative thinking
  • critical thinking
  • communication
  • digital literacy

Curriculum Mapping

Australian Curriculum (v9.0) content description:

Year 9 Science: 

  • Represent the carbon cycle and examine how key processes including combustion, photosynthesis and respiration rely on interactions between Earth’s spheres (the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere) (AC9S9U03)

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-ENV-01

Cross-curriculum priority:  Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students explain how interactions within and between Earth’s spheres affect the carbon cycle. 

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

  • Target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

Resources Required

  • Climate Change Fact Sheet (optional)
  • Device capable of displaying audiovisual material
  • Devices with internet access for students to conduct research and create infographics
  • Infographic Assessment Rubric
  • Student Worksheet - one for each student
  • Teacher support - Talking About Climate Change Fact Sheet

Resources can be found in the Lesson Plan above.

Additional Info

These lessons draw on concepts from the Carbon Almanac.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium - oversee class discussions and oversee group activities.

Related Professional Learning

How To Teach Sustainability With Hope 

Quick Summary: This course will help you find out how to bring hope to challenging, upsetting or worrying topics around sustainability.

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