Carbon is EVERYWHERE....what we eat, breath, and in our bodies. A lot of it we can't see but we can see carbon in it's solid form when we barbecue, have an aquarium and make lovely terrariums.
Carbon Cycle Moss Terrariums
Making a moss terrarium is one of my favorite ways to learn about The Carbon Cycle.
You need: small rocks, sand, activated charcoal, dry sphagnum moss, living moss, glass jars (any recycled glass jar with a lid will do, just make sure the top is wide enough for your hand to fit), and little nature treasures or clay figures (like the little guys we made yesterday).
In the following order layer.......
1. Rocks on the bottom of the jar (stressing that rocks are indeed made up of carbon). You also need this layer for drainage, and the rocks do make a pretty layer in the terrarium.
2. Layer some sand on the rocks. More carbon...crushed up rocks, dead organisms and waste products.
3. The activated carbon (charcoal) is the fossil fuel in our carbon cycle, it is over a million years old. The charcoal must be activated charcoal for the moss terrarium to work properly. It will prevent any little beasties from living in and hurting your little carbon life cycle. (I found activated carbon at a super pet store in the aquarium isle.)
4. The dry sphagnum moss layer is another dead and decaying layer, that may turn into carbon one day many million years from now.
5. The living part of our terrarium- the photosynthesizing, water loving moss. The moss depends on CO2 to make food. We depend on the moss for cleaning the air we breath and so much more! We harvested our moss from the base of Araina's favorite maple tree....left plenty behind. Make sure a little dirt remains attached to the moss.
6. Add any little treasures from nature or make some homemade ones.
7. Add a little water, close the lid and put in a sunny spot. Then you have your own miniature carbon cycle.