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Database Provider


Crash Course


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 10 minutes, 33 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


The Global Carbon Cycle

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  • This video explains how the global carbon cycle works and covers a variety of topics including carbon fixation, redox reactions, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, and humanity's use of fossil fuels. 
Teaching Tips


  • It covers a lot of topics and breaks down complex systems into short and simple language. 
  • It shows and defines important content-specific vocabulary words, which teachers can use as an opportunity to pause and check for understanding. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should already have a basic understanding of chemical reactions and chemical equations. 


  • Chemistry classes can use this video to highlight the importance of understanding chemical reactions and their application to living systems.
  • Biology classes could use this video to support lessons on the various topics or to summarize a chapter or unit.
  • This could be used as an introduction to an AP biology, AP environmental science, or AP chemistry lesson.
  • Other resources that could support this lesson include Carbon Cycle and The Global Carbon Cycle
Scientist Notes
This video from Crash Course is a quick lesson on the global carbon cycle and is very accurate. Please note that this video came out in 2014, so the numbers for global carbon output mentioned are lower than what they are today. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-6. Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • LS1: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and other large carbon-based molecules.
      • HS-LS1-7. Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy.
    • LS2: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics Within Ecosystems
      • HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
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