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Activity 3.1: Large-Scale Four Questions (20 min)

Target Student Performance

Students identify carbon pools in ecosystems and processes that move carbon atoms from one pool to another.

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Open the 3.1 Large-Scale Four Questions PPT and project it. Prepare one copy of the Large-Scale Four Questions Handout with Checklist for each student.


1. Use the instructional model to show students where they are in the course of the unit.

Show slide 2 of the 3.1 Large-Scale Four Questions PPT.


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 activity, they should be provided further instruction or review before moving on.

  • Provide students with additional examples or references of carbon-transforming processes (biosynthesis, photosynthesis, cellular respiration) and/or organic and inorganic carbon.
  • Use and refer to a word wall for questions on vocabulary related to transforming processes.
Extending the Learning

Compare the Three Questions with the Four Questions. How are they alike? How are they different?