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Carbon TIME Systems & Scale Unit 

2016 - 2017 Field Test Version

Systems and Scale Flame

The goal of the Systems and Scale unit is to introduce students to organic matter and chemical energy (in the context of combustion) using the tools for reasoning and environmental literacy practices that students will engage with in other units. Students must be able to identify organic matter from inorganic matter, and understand how differences in the chemical make-up of materials influences how materials and energy are transformed and moved between systems.

Principal Authors

Hannah K. Miller, Johnson State University

Jenny Dauer, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Christa Haverly, Michigan State University

Christie Morrison Thomas, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University

Charles W. “Andy” Anderson, Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University

Contributing Authors

Wendy Johnson, Allison Freed, Lindsey Mohan, Jennifer Doherty, Nick Verbanic, Kirsten Edwards, Elizabeth Xeng de los Santos, Elizabeth Tompkins


Craig Douglas

This research is supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation: A Learning Progression-based System for Promoting Understanding of Carbon-transforming Processes (DRL 1020187) and Sustaining Responsive and Rigorous Teaching Based on Carbon TIME (NSF 1440988). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the united States Department of Energy.

This unit is also available online at Contact the MSU Environmental Literacy Program for more information: