Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids – 5 Clear Facts about the Carbon Cycle

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

How do you think the carbon cycle works? Let’s discover five clear carbon cycle facts for kids.

Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids Fact Number 1: The Carbon Cycle Is How The Earth Recycles Carbon

The Carbon cycle is the exchange of carbon between the various organicand inorganic elements in the atmosphere. Carbon is essential for life and the carbon cycle balances the carbon available on Earth. Carbon is needed in the atmosphere as it helps to keep the Earth warm. Carbon cycle is mainly made up of two steps: Taking Carbon out of the atmosphere and putting Carbon into the atmosphere repeatedly.

When carbon and oxygen combine, a gas called carbon dioxide (CO2) is made. Carbon dioxide is a gas, called a greenhouse gas. Plants take in this carbon dioxide to make food and energy through a  process known as photosynthesis. Animals then eat these plants and the carbon in the plants is transferred to the animals. Carbon dioxide is then put out into the air when animals breathe out. When these animals die and decompose, carbon is released into the soil where it can eventually turn into fossil fuels or into the air. This process is then again repeated over and over again.

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Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids: Corn Plant on Field

Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids Fact Number 2: Carbon Sources Are The Elements Which Release Carbon Into The Atmosphere

Carbon sources can occur in three different ways. These are by combustion, respiration and decay.

Combustion is when people burn things such as fossil fuels, trees, or even plants. When combustion happens, the carbon in these things is released back into the air. Respiration is a process that every living thing does. When we breathe we turn the oxygen that we inhale into carbon dioxide which is then exhaled into the air. When plants and animals die they decay, meaning it goes back into the Earth. When decay occurs, carbon from dead plants and animals is released into the air or into the ground.

Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids Fact Number 3: Carbon Sinks Are The Elements That Absorb Carbon from The Atmosphere

There are two main ways that carbon sinks happen. These are by the ocean or by photosynthesis. In the ocean, the water removes a lot of excess carbon out of the air. When carbon dioxide in the air and the water in the ocean mix, carbonic acid is created. Too much carbonic acid can cause acid rain, which is quite harmful. Photosynthesis is used by plants to make energy. Plants take carbon dioxide, sunlight and water and use it to make energy. When plants and trees are cut down we are reducing the amount of carbon that can be removed from the atmosphere.

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Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids: Blue and White Ocean during Day Time

Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids Fact Number 4: Carbon Sources Can Be Either Organic or Inorganic

Carbon sources can be either organic, meaning living or inorganic, meaning non-living. Some examples of organic carbon sources are volcanic eruptions and respiration of animals and humans. Carbon is also found in non-living, inorganic things such as rocks, animal shells, the atmosphere in the form of CO2 and in oceans.

Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids Fact Number 5: Plants and Animals Affect The Carbon Cycle

Animals and plants do affect the carbon cycle. When animals eat plants or other animals, they absorb the carbon from these organisms, and they recycle the carbon back into the air when they breathe or die. People do this in the same way. We can change the amount of carbon that is found in the atmosphere through our actions. When we burn too many fossil fuels, it can cause more carbon to be in the air.

When we cut down trees, through deforestation it causes less carbon dioxide to be taken in by the trees and plants. If there is too much carbon dioxide in the air, greenhouse gases will increase and the global temperatures will rise, adding to climate change.

Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids
Carbon Cycle Facts for Kids: View of cut trees in the forest

We hope you enjoyed learning more things about carbon cycle as much as we loved teaching you about them. Now that you know how majestic the environment is, you can move on to learn about other STEM articles like: Life Cycles and Ecosystems.

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