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Carbon Dioxide Removal

Source Institutions

    American Museum of Natural History

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Carbon Dioxide Removal

In this experiment using sprigs of Elodea, learners will observe a natural process that removes carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth's atmosphere. This process is a part of the carbon cycle and results in temperature suitable for life. Note: this experiment requires that learners make observations an hour or the next day after they set up the materials.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

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

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

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


Materials List (per group of students)

  • bromothymol blue (BTB), a carbon dioxide indicator in a dropper bottle
  • small jars with lids (baby food jars)
  • water
  • drinking straws
  • sprigs of Elodea (or other water plant, commonly found in aquarium supply stores)


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Atmosphere
  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
      • Chemistry of Life
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Energy Flow and Chemical Cycles
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemistry of Life
    • States of Matter
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Elements and Periodic Table
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Risks and Benefits
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

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


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, American Museum of Natural History, ©2008


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