Stacie Turnbull
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Assessment
High School, Community College / Lower Division
  • Environmental Projects
  • NE Ag
  • NE FFA Foundation
  • Natural Resources
  • Tallgrass Prairie
    Creative Commons Attribution

    Education Standards

    Carbon Sequestration Unit

    Carbon Sequestration Unit


    What is carbon? A hot topic in agriculture. Attend to preview new Nebraska-specific lesson plans aligned to Nebraska AFNR standards, that highlight the advantages and disadvantages of carbon.

    Explore answers to questions such as: What is the carbon cycle? How are agriculture and carbon connected? What steps are farmers and ranchers taking to reduce their carbon footprint?  

    Thee lesson plans and worksheets are included.  

    Curriculum developed by Rebecca Wulf.

    Sponsored by TallGrass, Leading Energy Solutions and the Nebraska FFA Foundation.

    Carbon Sequestration: The Carbon Cycle

    9th-12th Grade
    Natural and Environmental Resources
    45 minutes

    Essential Question:  What is the carbon cycle?

            1. Students will define the carbon cycle.
            2. Students will create their own carbon cycle.

    Materials Needed:
            - Powerpoint
            - Poster board or paper
            - Writing/drawing utensils

    Bellringer:  What are three different items that contain carbon?


    We might not think about it in our everyday lives, but carbon plays a big role in our world from the food we eat to the events we hear about on the news.  As we will discover shortly, carbon is the most abundant element in the world, with more of it being produced every day. What do we do with excess carbon? In this unit, we will be diving deeper into this question.


    Use the power point to guide your instruction on the content. Following the power point, students will create their own carbon cycle on a poster using writing and drawing utensils. The poster should include the four steps of the
    carbon cycle.


    - What is carbon?
    - What are the four steps in the carbon cycle?
    Today we learned about how carbon plays a role in our lives. Later we will be
    diving into ways that carbon can be used outside of the carbon cycle.
    - Carbon cycle poster board

    Nebraska AFNR Standards: AFNR.HS.15.3.a Identify components that comprise ecosystems and the
    relationships within such ecosystems.

    Carbon Sequestration: How it Works

    9th-12th Grade
    Natural and Environmental Resources
    45 minutes

    Nebraska AFNR Standards: AFNR.HS.15.2.e Analyze use of modern technology in relation to agriculture
    production and natural resource management.

    Essential Question:  What is carbon sequestration and how does it work?

    1. Students will define carbon sequestration.
    2. Students will relate the natural method of sequestering carbon with
    today’s carbon sequestration process.
    3. Students will interpret how CO2 is safely stored and transported.

    Materials Needed:

    - Powerpoint
    - Carbon Sequestration Review worksheet

    Bellringer:  What are the four steps in the carbon cycle?


    Understanding how carbon naturally plays a role in our world will help us
    better understand its potential for other uses.


    Use the power point to guide your instruction on the content. See the speaker notes in Slide 5 for clear instructions on the expectations for that slide. 

    Following the power point presentation, hand out the “Carbon Sequestration
    Review” worksheet.

    Students can complete this individually, with a partner, or
    as a group.


    Today we defined carbon sequestration and learned about how the process is
    monitored. Next, we will be diving into the uses of sequestered carbon and
    how it plays a role in the agriculture industry.


    - Carbon Sequestration Review worksheet

    Carbon Sequestration: Industrial Use in Agriculture

    9th-12th Grade
    Natural and Environmental Resources
    Time: 90 minutes

    Nebraska AFNR Standards:

    AFNR.HS.15.2.e Analyze use of modern technology in relation to agriculture production and natural resource management.

    Essential Question:  How is carbon sequestration being used in the agriculture industry?


    1. Students will examine the use of carbon sequestration in the agriculture industry.
    2. Students will examine the challenges associated with carbon sequestration.
    3. Students will debate for or against the use of carbon sequestration.

    Materials Needed:

    • Creating Career Connections video
    • Tallgrass Interview Guide
    • Carbon Sequestration Challenges handout
    • Debate Rubric
    • Yellow card
    • Red card

    Bellringer:  What is carbon sequestration?

    Introduction:  Today we will be learning about how carbon sequestration impacts the
    agriculture industry.


    Creating Career Connections activity:

    • Hand out the “Tallgrass Interview Guide” to students and have them fill it out as they watch the Creating Career Connections video.
    • After the video, review the questions with students to check for understanding.


    • Now that we have examined the use of carbon sequestration in
    • the agriculture industry, let’s take a look at some of the challenges
    • surrounding the process.

    Carbon sequestration challenges activity:

    • Pass out the Carbon Sequestration Challenges handout.
    • Number students off so there are two students per group.
    • In each group assign one student to be partner A and the other partner B.
    • Partner A will individually read sections 4.1 and 4.2 while partner B individually reads sections 4.3, 4.4, and 4.5.
    • Students should identify the challenges associated with carbon sequestration within their  sections. 
    • Give students 3 minutes to read and identify the challenges. Then, give them 1 minute to share with their partner. Review with students to check if they identified all the challenges.


    • Now it’s time to put our knowledge to the test. Using what we have learned about the carbon cycle, how carbon is sequestered, and the benefits and challenges associated with it, we will be debating for or against the use of carbon sequestration in Nebraska.

    Debate activity:

    • Select one student as moderator, and split the remainder of students into two groups. One  group is debating for the use of a pipeline for carbon sequestration in Nebraska, and the other is debating against it.
    • Give students 10-15 minutes to prepare their arguments before the debate begins.
    • The moderator can work with the teacher to come up with questions for the debate.
    • During the debate, the moderator will keep time.
    • The debate will begin with each side giving a 30-second opening statement. The moderator will hold up a red card when their time has expired. After each side has given their opening  statement, the moderator will begin the debate by asking a question.
    • Students will have 8 minutes for debate. They can also use notes and their Tallgrass Interview Guide.
    • Students should each speak two times including the opening and closing statements.
    • The moderator can interject with questions at any time that the conversation has lulled. As long as there is still discussion, the moderator does not have to interject with questions. The only time the moderator should interject is when the conversation is off-topic or disrespectful.
    • When there is one minute left, the moderator will hold up a yellow card.
    • At the conclusion of the 8 minutes, the moderator will hold up a red card. (The moderator can end the debate early at their discretion if there is nothing left to discuss.)
    • Students will then be given one minute to prepare for their 30-second closing statement. At the conclusion of each 30-second statement, the moderator will hold up a red card to signal that time has expired.
    • The outcome of the debate is determined through the collaboration of the teacher and  moderator.


    Throughout our carbon sequestration unit, we have learned about the carbon cycle and how we play a role in it. We learned how carbon is sequestered, transported, and stored. Finally, we learned about the challenges and benefits associated with it. Through our debate today, we have demonstrated how the use of carbon today, is still in question as new technology and markets
    emerge. The role that carbon sequestration plays in our lives today may look very different in the future.


    • Tallgrass Energy Interview Guide
    • Debate