Tag Archives: CHNOPS

Energy, Matter, and Organization: Biogeochemical Cycle Poster Project

This week, students will work in groups of three students each to create a poster representing biogeochemical cycling.  For the project, students will receive a worksheet with 30 different components that must be included in their poster.  Students will have access to the class textbook and the class set of laptops to conduct their research.  Students will also receive the Nutrient Cycling POGIL worksheet packet that will provide them with additional information about the process of carbon (C), water (H and O), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) cycling.  Sulfur is often included as a component of the biogeochemical cycle, frequently appreviated as the CHNOPS cycle.  To help keep student projects moving forward, a variety of resources will be posted here for review.

Crash Course: Carbon and Water Cycles

Crash Course: Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycles

Bozeman Science: Biogeochemical Cycles (includes the Sulfur Cycle)

The Global Carbon Cycle – a website with data about global carbon cycling with actual numbers that need to be added to the student posters.

Water Cycle – USGS website providing a robust review of hydrologic (water) cycle vocabulary, a presentation of the cycle itself, and data students will need to add the actual amount of water stored in various locations on Earth.

Texas A&M University has a website with pages devoted to explaining the Nitrogen Cycle.  Additional in-depth information about the Nitrogen Cycle is available on the Nature Education Knowledge Project website.

Phosphorus Cycle – information about the cycle and a nice graphic from the Shmoop University website.

Sulfur Cycle – a presentation provided by North Carolina State University

Ocean acidification has become a major concern as the increasing concentration of carbon being produced has resulted in our ocean water become increasingly acidic.  The movie Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification is freely available online for students who would like to learn more about the consequence of our hydrocarbon-based economy on life in the oceans.

Update 1/12/16: Whiteboard notes from today’s Entry Task connecting biomolecules and biogeochemical cycling (CHNOPS):


Ecology and Systems Biology: Matter

After reviewing student work, one area that we clearly needed to spend some time revisiting was the concept of matter.  In a system, the amount of matter does not change.  Atoms are the fundamental unit of matter.  When collections of atoms bond together they create molecules.  The key point is that the number of atoms in a system will stay constant, while the bonds between those atoms (the molecules) can change.  Stated another way, the amount of matter stays constant but changes form.  This conservation of matter concept was introduced to students in 9th grade Integrated Science, and it is important that students understand the concept as they continue in their study of biology.  To help visualize the conservation of matter principle, on Friday we watched a segment of the NOVA special “Hunting the Elements” beginning at 47:47 and continuing through the end of class.  The explosions during the first segment of the video were accompanied by explanations of the rearrangement of atoms and release of energy, and students took notes to ensure understanding of the conservation of matter.  Next, students learned about CHNOPS, the 6 main elements found within the human body (Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, and Sulfur).  Students recorded the percentage of each element and learned to calculate the percentage of elements reported an pounds.  Depending on time, some classes were able to watch the next segment on trace elements, while others finished with the segment on bacteria living in Yellowstone National Park.  The complete video can we seen below or on Netflix.