Every aspect of our entire planet is composed of just 92 naturally occurring elements, and we organize them in a chart called the periodic table. Some of these elements are familiar to us, like oxygen, or gold. Others might not be as recognizable, such as astatine, or iridium. Element #6 on the periodic table is carbon. Carbon is part of so many of the living and non-living things in our daily lives. Let’s go on a Carbon Scavenger Hunt! How many of the following items can you find?
Look at the label! Cotton is plant product, and plants convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into plant tissue. Polyester and acrylic are made from hydrocarbons extracted from the ground.
Wood, like cotton, is a plant product, containing carbon that used to be carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Carbonated beverages contain dissolved carbon dioxide, which makes them fizzy.
Glass of water
Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere diffuses into water, not enough to make it fizzy, but enough to affect animals and plants that live in it.
Plastic, like polyester, is made from petroleum. Petroleum is used to make thousands of products, from car tires to crayons.
Piece of toast
Bread is made from wheat flour, and wheat is a plant, containing carbon from the atmosphere.
Plants use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to produce the cellulose and pigments that make up flowers.
Look in the mirror
Our bodies are composed of trillions of cells formed from the carbon that we consume in our food.
Look around you… what objects and what living things do you see? It is all most likely rich in carbon. Carbon is part of our bodies, part of plants and animals, and part of so many things that we use every day!