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Carbon Cycle for Kids

Last updated date: 02nd Mar 2024
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What is Carbon Cycle?

Carbon is one of the most important elements on earth as it forms a big part of the human body and the main source of food on earth which is sucrose which is used by plants, which are the base of almost all the food chains, is also made up of carbon and hydrogen; thus, we can conclude that carbon is very vital for sustaining any type of life on earth.

We can define the carbon cycle as one of the several biogeochemical cycles which run among the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere to maintain the levels of carbon in our atmosphere. It includes both usage of carbon and its compounds for different purposes and replenishing it in the atmosphere.

The Carbon Cycle Balance

The Carbon Cycle is mainly based on maintaining a balance of carbon. It is essentially a checking system and broadly includes two basic steps, taking carbon out of the atmosphere and moving carbon into the atmosphere.

  • Taking Carbon Out of the Atmosphere

The level of carbon in the atmosphere is not that high; our atmosphere is mainly made up of nitrogen and oxygen. Carbon forms around 0.3% of the atmosphere. 

There are different ways through which carbon is taken or utilised from the atmosphere. Plants require carbon for photosynthesis, that is to make their own food which eventually sustains the entire world. They are the main users of carbon from the atmosphere.

Plants Require Carbon for Photosynthesis

Plants Require Carbon for Photosynthesis 

Other than that, there are other sources of carbon such as the other’s crust, this carbon is mined and used for different purposes for example as a fuel. 

  • Moving Carbon Into the Atmosphere

Since the plants take the carbon from the atmosphere, there must be some sources which restore this carbon into the atmosphere to maintain the balance. This is done by the various organisms present on earth which breathe in the oxygen and simultaneously exhale out the carbon which is released into the atmosphere.

Nowadays, there are more than required sources, such as our vehicles, carbon and its compounds related industries which release a lot of carbon mainly in the form of carbon dioxide, which is alarmingly raising the levels of carbon in the atmosphere, which have adverse effects on our earth.

How Much Carbon is in the Human Body

Carbon is one of the most vital elements present in the human body. About 12% of the total atoms present in the human body are carbon atoms. Or, we can say around 18.5% of our total body weight is contributed by carbon.

Chemical Composition of Human Body

Chemical Composition of Human Body

Easy Carbon Cycle Diagram

Easy Carbon Cycle Diagram

Easy Carbon Cycle Diagram

Sample Questions

State whether the statements that follow are true or not.

  1. Carbon is one of the main components of the atmosphere. 

Ans: False. Nitrogen is the main component of the atmosphere followed by oxygen. 

  1. Carbon is important for sustaining life on earth. 

Ans: True

  1. Plants take carbon from the atmosphere and Humans restore this carbon to the atmosphere. 

Ans: True

Learning by Doing

Complete the mentioned statements by filling in the blanks.

  1. Plants require carbon for ________. 

Ans: photosynthesis

  1. Nitrogen forms _____ of the atmosphere.

Ans: 71%

  1. Carbon cycle is a ___________ cycle. 

Ans: biogeochemical


Carbon is one of the most important elements to sustain life on earth and the carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle which runs among the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere to maintain the levels of carbon. Humans and other organisms breathe out the carbon which is released into the atmosphere and the vehicles we use and other carbon related industries also release carbon into the atmosphere and the plants use some of this carbon for making their food through a process known as photosynthesis, this helps in maintaining a balance of carbon in the atmosphere. Approximately 18.5% of the total body weight is contributed by carbon in various different forms.

FAQs on Carbon Cycle for Kids

1. What do you understand about a biogeochemical cycle?

A cycle which includes biological, geological, and chemical aspects is termed as a biogeochemical cycle.

2. How is the carbon cycle a biogeochemical cycle?

Through the carbon cycle, carbon is cycled among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. It involves all three processes, that is, the biological aspect, which includes the plants using carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and the organisms restoring the carbon dioxide through breathing, the geological aspect because the oceans and the earth’s crust are also involved, and lastly, the chemical aspect, which is the entire process since carbon is a chemical element and throughout the cycle, it changes its chemical form. 

3. What are the major carbon reservoirs?

Most of the carbon on Earth is present in the earth’s crust, mainly in the form of rocks and sediments. Other than that, carbon is present as a part of the atmosphere and some of it is present in the form of oceans.