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Crash Course


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 10 minutes, 4 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


The Hydrologic and Carbon Cycles

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  • This video describes the processes within two biogeochemical cycles: the carbon and hydrologic cycles.
  • The narrator describes the connection between the carbon hydrologic cycles and how global climate change connects to the carbon cycle through burning fossil fuels.
  • Students will also learn about positive feedback loops, permafrost, and how various carbon dioxide-releasing processes are causing climate change.
Teaching Tips


  • The explanations of the two biogeochemical cycles are thorough, accurate, and explained with diagrams, examples, and supporting vocabulary.
  • This video helps students connect individual phenomena to a larger concept of the cycling of all matter and energy.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with terms related to the hydrologic cycle, including precipitation, condensation, evaporation, and reservoir.
  • Students should also be familiar with terms related to the carbon cycle, including carbon, carbon dioxide, respiration, decomposition, fossil fuels, and photosynthesis.


  • Use this video as a learning tool or review of the hydrologic and carbon cycles rather than an introduction to these concepts since it is so information-dense.
  • Consider providing students with graphic organizers to diagram the stages of the two cycles.
  • Pause the video often to check for students' understanding since the narrator covers many topics quickly, and consider watching the hydrologic cycle and carbon cycle portions separately rather than in one sitting.
  • Before watching this video, consider setting up demonstrations and models around the classroom related to the two cycles and have students explore and connect the different phenomena to different concepts in the biogeochemical cycles.
  • The video is an excellent summative tool to review the hydrologic and carbon cycles after exploring some of their respective phenomena, such as evaporation, precipitation, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, decomposition, and climate change.
Scientist Notes
In this video, Hank Green introduces the water and carbon cycles. The video is an engaging overview of these cycles and climate change. This resource opens the conversation to several related topics, such as weather, life, rock formation, plants, oceans, etc. The theme woven throughout the video is the idea of cycles. The video is older, but as it covers the basics of these topics, it is still relevant and will likely not become dated. The information presented is accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-6. Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-4. Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.II.11–12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.
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