- Teaching Notes
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Dust to Dust
The Carbon Cycle
Jennifer Y. Anderson
Diane R. Wang
Tom and his grandfather, a retired high school chemistry teacher, are talking about a National Geographic television documentary titled “Waking the Baby Mammoth.” As students read the dialogue that ensues, they learn how carbon, an essential element of life, is transformed from carbon dioxide to carbohydrate to animals, then back to carbon dioxide. The case emphasizes a number of chemistry concepts, including atomic structures, carbon isotopes, radiocarbon dating, beta decay, half-life, and photosynthesis. Developed as a supplement to the nuclear chemistry chapter in a non-majors general chemistry course, the case could also be used in an introductory botany, paleobiology, plant, or general ecology course after students have completed at least one semester of general chemistry.
|Keywords:||Carbon; carbon dioxide; C-14; carbon isotope; atomic structure; radiocarbon dating; beta decay; half-life; photosynthesis; nuclear chemistry|
|Educational Level:||High school; Undergraduate lower division|
|Subject Headings:||Chemistry (General) Biology (General) Ecology Botany / Plant Science|
|Copyright:||Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.|
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