Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is one of the gases in our atmosphere. It is often called a greenhouse gas because it traps heat from the Sun and warms up Earth.

We need the plants, and they need us.

We need the plants, and they need us.

Carbon dioxide may have a bad reputation because of its role in global warming, but it is an important part of our world.

People and animals breathe in oxygen. We use this oxygen to make energy, and then we breathe out carbon dioxide as a waste product. Plants breathe in this carbon dioxide to make energy, and then they breathe out oxygen. We need the plants, and they need us.

Carbon is also a part of every living thing on Earth. The way that carbon moves around the world is called “The Carbon Cycle”. 

People and animals breathe oxygen.

People and animals breathe oxygen.

Have you ever wondered what carbon dioxide looks like? On Earth, carbon dioxide is almost always a gas. It is invisible to us. We also can’t smell it.

A model of carbon dioxide shows that it is made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. You can see an example of the model below. Carbon is not really red, and oxygen is not really blue. The model uses the colors (and the shapes) to help us see that carbon dioxide is made up of three parts put together. Two of the parts are oxygen, and one part is carbon.