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Fossil Fuels and the Carbon Cycle

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.


  • Instead of having students cut their muffins in half after making their predictions, challenge students to restore the “landscape” on the top of their muffins before proceeding with the rest of the activity.
  • Ask students, What cycles besides the carbon cycle are important in ecosystems? Encourage students to learn about those other cycles by using resources in the library or on the Internet. For example, nitrogen is another atmospheric gas that cycles through non-living and living parts of ecosystems in many different forms.
  • Have students conduct research on the Internet about fossil fuels (uses, conservation efforts and ideas, etc.)

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932

Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education