Carbon Cycle Lesson Plan for Elementary Students

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Teach your students about the carbon cycle with this lesson plan. A text lesson defines the term and explains the cycle in words and images. Hands-on learning experiences make concepts easy to understand and application makes learning last.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define the carbon cycle
  • explain the carbon cycle in words and pictures


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Copies of the text lesson Carbon Cycle Lesson for Kids: Definition & Steps, one for each student
  • Small pieces of paper
  • Hand lenses
  • Chart paper and marker
  • Ping pong balls
  • Cardboard and/or poster board
  • Construction paper, assorted colors
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Sugar cubes or packets of sugar
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Cotton balls
  • Rice

Key Vocabulary

  • Carbon cycle
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Photosynthesis

Curriculum Standards


Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.


Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and other logical relationships (e.g., however, although, nevertheless, similarly, moreover, in addition).

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