2. •Carbon is an element found throughout the
• It is found in all living things and without
carbon there would be no life on Earth.
• The characteristics of the remarkable
carbon atom make possible the compounds
that are necessary for life on Earth.
3. • Carbon is also part of nonliving things
such the oceans, rocks ,animal shells,
and the atmosphere.
• Carbon doesn’t just stay in one place
however. It’s always on the move.
• Carbon atoms continually move
through living things, the oceans, the
atmosphere and the crust of the
• This movement is known as the
4. Carbon dioxide, a gas in our atmosphere,
is partly carbon and is an important part
of the carbon cycle.
A carbon dioxide molecule is made up of
one part carbon and two parts oxygen.
5. Carbon moves through its “cycle” in several ways,
one way is by photosynthesis.
carbon dioxide is
taken into the
plant and changed
into plant food.
The carbon is then
stored in this
food. In this
oxygen is given
6. Carbon on the move through respiration
7. In this
8. Here we see carbon on the move through the
Plants are the foundation of a food chain. The
carbon that is stored in its food is passed down
from one animal to another though this chain.
9. And here, carbon is being moved through
That’s because when plants and animals die, their
bodies decay and carbon dioxide is released into
the air—carbon moves back into the air.
13. 3. From live
fuel back into
14. 4. From dead
back into the
15. Here is a website with three
choices which show the movement
of carbon through the carbon
cycle. Simply choose download
and then select the process you
wish to study.
16. Now let’s look at how fossil fuels fit
into the carbon cycle.
Remember fossil fuels are our main
source of energy.
We use fossil fuels to:
17. 1. Power all our vehicles--
cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes and
18. 2. Generate our electricity.
Often, coal or natural gas is burned to heat
water. The water changes into steam which
turns a turbine which then turns a coil of wire
inside a magnet generating electricity.
21. Do you remember how fossil fuels—crude
oil, coal and natural gas—are formed?
Yes, they are formed from the remains of
plants and animals.
The carbon from the dead plants and
animals is stored in fossil fuel.
22. However, in order to use fossil fuels for
energy, we must burn them.
And when they burn, carbon dioxide is
given off and returned to the air—
carbon on the move again.