This activity directly aligns with NGSS HS-LS2-5, which asks students to, "Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere."
In this activity, I help students break the task into easier-to-understand information, explain what I expect in the model (based off the NGSS evidence statements for this standard), share the grading rubric, and guide them through some research that will help them create the model itself. My students conference with me about their models--they need to be able to explain it well!
I let my students work alone, with a pair, with two other people, or as a group of four.
I use this with my general biology class, which includes all levels of students--high and low.