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Ecosystems | Activity 3.1

Activity 3.1: Carbon Pools (20 min)

Building on the biomass pyramid data from Lesson 2, students are introduced to the concept of organic and inorganic carbon pools and review carbon transforming processes that connect the pools. The Large Scale Three Questions are introduced.

Resources Provided


For Activity 3.1, open the 3.1 Carbon Pools PPT and project it. Prepare enough copies of the 3.1 Carbon Pools Handout for each student to have one.


1. Use Slide 2 of the 3.1 Carbon Pools PPT to connect this activity to the first lesson.


  • Use the discussion of the 3.1 Carbon Pools Handout to assess students’ understanding of carbon pools.
  • This unit builds on previous knowledge about organic versus inorganic carbon and the carbon-transforming process of photosynthesis, biosynthesis, decomposition, and cellular respiration. If students experience difficulty making the connections in this lesson, they should be provided further instruction or review before moving on.


Check to see if students are able to identify the difference between organic and inorganic carbon at this point in the Unit.