Lesson Plan

"The Carbon Budget"                Climate Change: 4-6th Grade       

Students doing schoolwork on a dock


Students use math, visual and auditory techniques to demonstrate that the amount of carbon being added to the atmosphere by humans is more than what the planet is removing. This activity can use different learning styles to demonstrate the 2008 global carbon budget. Show that the imbalance of a yearly extra four billion tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the fundamental cause of climate change.


Our "Climate Change" unit is broken into three lesson plans, each taking 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and targeted mainly at fifth and sixth grade students. A class needn't complete every lesson in the unit, though some lessons do refer to one another and are better done in sequence. However, each lesson comes with its own set of objectives and resources.

Check out these other lessons:
Lesson 1: Greenhouse Gasses
Lesson 3: Sea Level Rise

Additional Resources






Download a slideshow about the carbon budget


Use the 2008 carbon budget worksheet


Carbon budget, carbon sink, carbon source, greenhouse gas