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Trees and Carbon

Kennesaw State University

This activity describes the flow of carbon in the environment and focuses on how much carbon is stored in trees. It goes on to have students analyze data and make calculations about the amount of carbon stored in a set of trees at three sites in a wooded area that were to be cut down to build a college dormitory.

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Notes from our reviewers

The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials.

  • Before students review data collected about other trees, it would be good if they made their own measurements of trees so that the data they review makes sense to them. Putting the data into excel would make some steps in the activity take less time. Students may need guidance through the mathematics. If students are less familiar with logarithmic functions, the formulas can be entered into their excel spreadsheet to handle that step. Rather than having students each measure their lots where they live, groups of students or the whole class can measure a place on or near the school grounds. The activity would be greatly improved if students brainstormed ways that they can save trees or plant new trees as methods to store carbon. Adding a few more questions on the understanding of the carbon cycle would be good to ensure student learning. Measuring tapes might not be readily available but area can be measured by estimates using step length.