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Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Poker Chip Model: Global Carbon Pools and Fluxes

Lesson Description:

This activity helps students visualize and model a commonly published diagram of global carbon pools and fluxes. Students create a scaled 3-D visual of global carbon pools and net fluxes between pools with anthropogenic influences. The relative sizes of the pools can be modeled with stacks of poker chips, rolled columns of printer paper or similar. The fluxes can be represented by bingo chips, pennies or similar. Supplemental discussion questions guide students through considering the forms of carbon in pools, key carbon transforming processes associated with fluxes, and the implications for climate change.

Lesson Type:
  • Discussion
  • Group Work
  • Other

Sustainability Topic:
  • Climate Change

Time Needed:
Two 50-minute class periods including discussion
Materials Needed:

Version 1: Poker chips, bingo chips, CDs or DVDs, drawstring bag to hold all chips

Version 2: paper, ruler, tape

School or Group:
Contact Email:
Website link:
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Teacher Instructions.pdf
Lesson Documents:
application/pdf Diagram.pdf
Lesson Documents:
application/msword Student Worksheet.docx

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