How Might Elevated CO2 Affect Plants

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In this activity, learners conduct an experiment to investigate the effect of elevated levels on CO2 on plant growth. The activity helps learners understand the relationship between CO2, plants, and climate change. This activity is associated with Project BudBurst, a citizen science program for K-12 learners. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 4 weeks

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 14 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Two 2-liter clear soda bottles for each team of two learners
  • One plastic saucer for each bottle
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Potting soil (enough to fill the bottom of the bottles)
  • Seeds of several different species of plants (tomato, wheat, bean, cucumber, clover, etc)
  • Water soluble plant food
  • Straws
  • Hand pump (often sold as balloon pumps or aspirators)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Populations
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Representation

Informal Categories

  • Citizen Science
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, NEON Inc., 2013

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation