Be Naturally Curious
Science and Nature Mini-Courses for Kids

The Adventures of Carbon


The Adventures of Carbon

Have you ever heard of something called carbon? You might know it’s in the world around you but not really understand what it is. In The Adventures of Carbon you’ll meet Carbon Cal, one of many carbon atoms on our planet, and travel with him as he journeys around (and above!) the earth. You’ll learn that he meets up with other atom friends to form different types of molecules, such as carbon dioxide in the air, sugar in living things, fossil fuels in the ground, and even bicarbonate in the ocean. You’ll get to know Carbon Cal so well that you’ll even be able to figure out where he might be hiding the next time you take a walk in your neighborhood!

Mini-course is provided as a 28-page PDF, along with a separate Science Tool Kit PDF to use to collect your badges.

Prefer a printed mini-course? The Adventures of Carbon is also available as a beautiful workbook here on

Course Contents

  • Story: Carbon Cal Travels the World. Join Carbon Cal as he takes on his many forms—from carbon dioxide to sugar to calcium carbonate—on his trip around the world.
  • Activity 1: Where Does Carbon Cal Belong? Cut out Carbon Cal’s different forms and glue them in the correct places.
  • Activity 2: Can You Be Carbon Cal? Can your friends or parents guess which form of carbon you are acting out?
  • Activity 3: It’s a Carbon Cycle Race! Race around the game board provided and collect cards from each of Carbon Cal’s favorite hangouts. Who will collect all the cards first?
  • Activity 4: Make CO2 in Your Kitchen! Use baking yeast to learn how (almost) all living things breathe out carbon dioxide!
  • Curiosity Connector. Links to fun activities and videos to learn more about where carbon is found in the world around us.
  • Tools for Your Tool Kit. See if you can answer all the questions about Carbon Cal and his many forms to earn Tools for your Science Tool Kit.
  • Glossary. Learn cool definitions for words such as respiration, photosynthesis, and fossil fuels.

Concepts and Ideas

The Adventures of Carbon includes the following Disciplinary Core Ideas as described in the Next Generation Science Standards:

Biogeology (ESS2.E), Natural Resources (ESS3.A), Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems (LS2.A), Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms (LS1.C), Cycles of Matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems (LS2.B).

How to Purchase

After checking out and purchasing the mini-course via PayPal, you will receive an email from Be Naturally Curious with a link to download the mini-course PDF. Your PDF will be stamped with your name and transaction number. You will also receive a link to download a Science Tool Kit PDF. Please print this and use it to collect your Tool badges.

Illustrations by Veronique Latimer.



The Adventures of Carbon

Valerie Grosso

About Valerie Grosso

Valerie is a microbiologist who is curious about all the microscopic things that make up our world. She holds BS and PhD degrees from Yale and Harvard, respectively, and is a former college professor who is passionate about making higher-level scientific concepts part of every kid's life tool kit. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters (who try out all the mini-courses) and spends her free time knitting and roaming around the American Museum of Natural History (not necessarily at the same time).

© Be Naturally Curious 2018