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Industrial Smoke

Adventures of
a carbon atom

An interactive website developed for virtual learning.​



Instructional Designer

UX Designer


Weebly- Free version


October 2019

a virtual adaptation of a hands-on classroom activity

After teaching biology for several years- many of which I co taught with special education teachers, I wanted to create alternative lessons to give students more autonomy.

This activity had students (representing carbon atoms) start at one station in the lab and roll a die to see which station to travel to next.  Thus creating a human carbon cycle.


Why go virtual? Some students may become overwhelmed with movement in the classroom, or may be absent and need to catch up.  By creating a web version, I was able to reach more students with the content.

Carbon Cycle Site 1.png
Carbon Cycle Site 2.png
Activity Process

Students choose a starting location.

Summary of what carbon atoms do at that location

Students click die rolling widget. 

Students select which location their carbon atom will travel next according to the number rolled.

Example user flow
Carbon Cycle User Flow.jpg
Project Details

Constraints:  With a free version of Weebly and simple webpages, I was limited to how functional I could make the selection of locations.  By adding a die roller widget, I was able to incorporate the original goal and feel of the assignment.

Students still have to use paper and pencil to track their locations, as the website does not display it.

Designer Role:  I have collaborated elsewhere on the site with other teachers, but the carbon cycle sections were the first implemented, all by me.

Teaching Extension

This can be paired with a simple worksheet where students can write down their results and summarize what they learned.  

There are two versions of this activity:  pre-industrial and post-industrial.

Ideally by having students complete both parts 1 & 2, they will understand the role of fossil fuels and how more carbon atoms end up in the atmosphere during post-industrial as compared to getting "stuck" underground during part 1.

A class discussion will allow students to compare their results and generate new ideas.

This process can be easily applied to demonstrate other cycles such as water and nitrogen.

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