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Available on catch-up

How to teach the carbon cycle

This live professional development session focuses on teaching the carbon cycle and how it relates to climate change. This CPD session will be led by Prof Callum Roberts, Chief Scientist of the Convex Seascape Survey. This session is suitable for teachers of all age groups, and will build progressively from some of the basic processes that make up the carbon cycle to a fuller overview including the role of the ocean.

The session will then move onto how human activity has affected the balance of the carbon cycle and an introduction to how scientists look at how carbon moves between different parts of the Earth system.

The session will conclude with an overview of the resources available from the Convex Seascape Survey education programme.

Broadcast on Wed 17 May 2023
  • 45 mins
  • CPD
Session objectives
  • Understand the science of the carbon cycle
  • Link an understanding of the carbon cycle to climate and environmental change
  • Introduce some of the methods used to teach the carbon cycle at different key stages

This is a standalone CPD session as part of the Convex Seascape Survey education programme. No specific preparation is needed but teachers and other participants may wish to view the associated resources on this page, and look at the Convex Seascape Survey classroom resources.

The session will be broadcast on this page via YouTube Live. Questions can be submitted via the interaction app that will appear on this page once the session has been booked.

Session steps

1. Introduction (5 mins)

We welcome participants to the session, cover an overview, and introduce our speaker, Prof Callum Roberts.

2. The importance of carbon (5 mins)

Before we look at the carbon cycle, we find out about the importance, different forms, and ubiquity of carbon.

3. Understanding the carbon cycle (15 mins)

Many students will have already come across aspects of the carbon cycle through their study of animals, plants, and ecology. This will build into a fuller picture of the carbon cycle, bringing in the role of the ocean.

4. Impact of human activity (5 mins)

The carbon cycle is affected by the combustion of fossil fuels and land use change. The section will look at how these changes can be expressed in terms of carbon stores and fluxes.

5. Available resources (5 mins)

The last section of the session will look at the available resources from the Convex Seascape Survey to support the teaching of the carbon cycle at a range of key stages.

6. Q&A (10 mins)

This is a chance for participants to ask any questions they may have about the carbon cycle, climate change, and how to teach it.


SPEAKER Callum Roberts

Prof Callum Roberts

Chief Scientist, Convex Seascape Survey

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