Option 1: For the carbon cycle simulation in Doing the Activity, provide colored beads at each of the stations (for example, green=tree, clear=atmosphere, brown=log, red=animal, black=firewood, orange=wood product). Students collect the beads as they move through the stations, putting them on craft cord or a lanyard to make a keychain for their backpack to help them recall their journey.
You might also have students leave a poker chip at each station they visit. After the simulation, students can graph the poker chips from each station to see how many visits the class made to each.
Option 2: As an alternative or in addition to the carbon cycle diagrams in Doing the Activity, have students write about their life as a carbon atom, using a first-person narrative to tell their story.
Option 3: Have students investigate different carbon emissions reduction strategies and carbon sequestration strategies. Then ask students to develop a climate change mitigation plan for their state or region and present it to the class. Should the carbon generated within each state be sequestered by the trees and other plants in that state? If not, who should be responsible for addressing the remaining emissions (other states, federal government, industry, other countries, etc.)?
Option 4: Have students use Google Earth to visit a green space in your neighborhood or other specific location you choose and use the History tab to explore its history. They should identify four dates approximately evenly spaced between the earliest date available to present day, and use the information for those dates to complete the chart and answer the questions on the Carbon Cycle in Action student page.
See Additional Resources for more ideas to enrich this activity.