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Database Provider


Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology

Resource Types

  • Videos, 8 minutes, 36 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Ebooks
  • Assessments
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


The Carbon Cycle

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  • This resource explains the carbon cycle using a video, interactive quiz, and accompanying text with an engaging diagram. 
  • It takes a molecular view of the carbon cycle and introduces 3-D images of common carbon-based molecules as they are involved in photosynthesis or cellular respiration on land or in the ocean.
Teaching Tips


  • It contains a link to quickly post as a task or resource material on Google Classroom.
  • It contains a glossary of key terms, description, and infographic of the carbon cycle.

Additional Prerequisites

  • It is required to log in to Khan Academy to participate in the conversation thread or record their quiz scores automatically.
  • Students should be familiar with the terms glucose, amino acids, DNA, and ATP (adenosine triphosphate).


Scientist Notes
This 9-minute video presents some examples of the carbon cycle primarily through the molecule carbon dioxide (CO2) and the processes of photosynthesis and combustion. The resource navigates through complex topics clearly, although some phrases, such as autotrophs, which are forms of life that can produce their own food for energy (such as plants) are not defined explicitly. Nonetheless, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-6 Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-6 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
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