2.3 Human Impacts on the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles

Human Impacts on the Nutrient Cycles

I have designed an activity that enables students to make the connections between human impacts on both the nitrogen and carbon cycles. I think it is quite fun and builds on students own technological skills and links to the blogging style activities that help students articulate their own thinking and learning. Students will collectively make a newspaper about human impacts on the cycles. We've called it The Biogeochemical Times Edn. xxxx. To start the activity you should encourage students to think about what activities would impact the cycles. You can do this in a variety of ways such as a class brainstorm, post-it notes on charts for the carbon and nitrogen cycle or an electronic board such as padlet. Follow up by organising your class to have different articles to contribute. I also have someone in charge of editorial duties and making a Useful to know section i.e. vocabulary.

Student Task:

Using a google template for a Newspaper - there are quite a few to choose from.

Decide who is going to have which task. Some suggestions are:

  • Editor in Chief - makes it look good, checks all articles for readability and proof-reading
  • Designer & Picture Editor - finds good images and ensures they are allowed to be used
  • Science Editor - explains the science behind the nitrogen and carbon cycle
  • Politics Editor - in charge of explaining what the world is doing to construct treaties to manage the impacts
  • Journalists for human impacts on carbon cycle
    • urbanisation
    • deforestation
    • transportation
    • forest fires
    • agriculture
    • use of fossil fuels
  • Although not essential it would be good to have a solutions or synopsis section (comparing carbon and nitrogen cycle)

I don't do this as an assessed piece of work but it could easily be adapted with a rubric using the following criteria:

  • readability
  • referencing / citations
  • links to cycles
  • clarity of explanation

Example of Student work from 2016

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