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Carbon budget activity

Activity carbon budget hero

This activity teaches students about the amount of carbon in the different stores, e.g. ocean, atmosphere, and fossil fuels. It is a group activity designed for between 4 and 6 students. Students will also learn about how carbon passes from one store to another.

Ages 14+

20 mins

This activity looks at where the carbon is around the planet (carbon stores). It then moves on to consider how carbon moves between these stores (fluxes). Last, the focus will be on how human activity has altered carbon fluxes, and in turn the amount of carbon in each of the stores.

How to play
  1. Get together in groups of four to six.
  2. Cut out your cash and the carbon store areas.
  3. Take five minutes to distribute the carbon ‘cash’ between the stores to represent how many GtC (gigatonnes of carbon) were in each at the start of industrialisation, roughly 250 years ago.
  4. Record your numbers on the Carbon budget record sheet.
  5. Use the Carbon stores interactive (advanced) to check your estimates, noting any surprises between these figures.
  6. Use the Carbon fluxes interactive (advanced) to investigate both the natural fluxes between stores, and the overall impact of human activity on the sizes of carbon stores.