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The carbon cycle

Join NFU Education and the Association for Science Education to learn about the carbon cycle, what farmers are doing to reduce carbon emissions and how your students, as consumers of 2030, can help to fight climate change.

These live lessons will be of particular relevance to those studying science at GCSE.

Broadcast on Thu 4 Nov 2021
  • 45 mins
  • Ages 11-14, Ages 14-16
Learning Outcomes

GCSE Combined Science and GCSE Biology:

The principle of material cycling

  • Recall that many different materials cycle through the abiotic and biotic components of an ecosystem.
  • Explain the importance of the carbon cycle [and the water cycle] to living organisms.
  • Explain the role of microorganisms in the cycling of materials through an ecosystem.

GCSE Combined Science and GCSE Chemistry:

Carbon dioxide and methane as greenhouse gases.

  • Evaluate the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change, including the correlation between change in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and the consumption of fossil fuels, and describe the uncertainties in the evidence base.
  • Describe the potential effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate and how these effects may be mitigated, including consideration of scale, risk and environmental implications.

If you have never joined a live lesson before, see the guidance hub, where you will find technical and educational support.

Live lessons work best when students have some prior knowledge and have prepared questions. Questions and shout outs can be submitted in advance via the Live Lesson tab in your Encounter Edu profile.

Session outline

1. Introduction (5 mins)

The live lesson will open with an introduction to the session. The host will give any shout outs to participating students and schools.

2. Subject knowledge (15 mins)

The host will explain the carbon cycle and extend it into a more complex model that includes both carbon sinks and the flow of carbon between sinks.

3. Case studies (15 minutes)

Learners will be introduced to farmers who will explain the steps they have taken to reduce carbon emissions on their farms.

4. Q&A and conclusion (15 mins)

The last section allows for classes and students to ask further questions to clarify any of the points covered or to deepen their knowledge.


Jennie Divine head shot

Jennie Devine

Education Manager, National Farmers' Union

Joshua Payne Head shot

Josh Payne

Chief Education Manager, National Farmers' Union

Ed brown NFU FFP min

Ed Brown

Agronomist, Hutchinson’s

Ed brades dairy

Ed Towers

Farmer, Brade’s Dairy


This is a third party live lesson, and Encounter Edu has not pre-screened the content.

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