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The Carbon TIME (CTIME) project is a collaboration of scientists, teachers, graduate students, and IT specialists with the overall arching goal to refine current K-12 frameworks and assessments for learning progressions that lead to environmental science literacy. Given the above, we have developed a series of six teaching modules that can be used at the middle school or high school level. Each of these learning modules are nested within this website along with assessments for each learning module.

Carbon TIME materials are developed by the Environmental Literacy Project at Michigan State University. The principal investigator is Charles W. (Andy) Anderson:


What is Carbon TIME? Carbon: Transformations in Matter and Energy (Carbon TIME) is a set of teaching units for middle and high school science classes focusing on processes that transform matter and energy in organisms, ecosystems, and global systems: combustion, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, digestion, and biosynthesis. Students use these cellular and chemical processes to explain the functioning of organisms – plants, animals, decomposers - as well as ecological and global carbon cycling.

Carbon TIME includes six units. Systems and Scale, Plants, Animals, and Decomposers examine matter and energy in flames and individual organisms. Ecosystems and Human Energy Systems focus on carbon and energy at ecosystem and global scales. The units each require about three weeks of classroom time.

Carbon TIME resources include: Online units that include a suite of teaching and assessment tools: formative assessments, hands-on investigations supported by videos, molecular modeling activities, animations and simulations of carbon-transforming processes and carbon cycling, posters, and graphic organizers. Carbon TIME also provides, professional development experiences and personal support networks for teachers that will support rigorous and responsive teaching.

The NGSS connection: The Next Generation Science Standards will require new approaches to science teaching that are rigorous and responsive: engaging students actively in science and engineering practices and providing students with specific targeted coaching. All Carbon TIME units, lessons, and activities are aligned with NGSS practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas.

The citizenship connection: Carbon TIME units prepare students to be productive and well-informed citizens as they make decisions about their personal health and consumption and as they consider public issues associated with our carbon footprints and climate change.