The Matter Cycle Game (Carbon, Water, Nitrogen Cycle Board Game) DIGITAL VERSION

Grade Levels
Resource Types
Product Rating
File Type
Compressed Zip File
Be sure that you have an application to open this file type before downloading and/or purchasing.
How to unzip files.
45.01 MB   |   30 pages


** This page is for the digital version of the Matter Cycle Game **

This colorful, creative, and engaging board game is a great way to introduce or review the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles with your students. The goal of the game is for the player to travel across the board collecting cycle cards, which outline the basic processes of the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles (respiration, nitrogen fixation, evaporation, etc.), and to then play them in the appropriate reservoir on the board (oceans, animals, soil, lakes, etc.). Players can also pick up action cards which can help them to get ahead or to slow down their opponents. Sure, this game might not make the list of what your students will be doing with their Friday nights (or maybe it will for those with a particular fondness for science), but it’s a fun way to introduce or reinforce the concepts that you have been teaching in class in a clever and creative way. The following items are included in your download:

1. The Matter Cycles Game Board – This skillfully drawn board features original artwork by Josh Bostwick, a talented local artist and friend. This is the board that the game is played on. I’ve also included a copy of just the background image that you can use as desired.

2. A set of 48 Cycles Cards – these illustrated cycle cards are picked up any time a player lands on one of the cycle symbols. Each card highlights a specific process from the carbon, nitrogen, or water cycles. These cards are then played in the appropriate reservoir elsewhere on the board for points. The list of cycle cards are as follows:

a.16 cards detailing some of the processes in the carbon cycle,
2 of each of the following: (1) Photosynthesis (2) Respiration (3)
Consumption (4) Death (5) Fossil Fuel Formation (6)
Combustion (7) Eruptions / Outgassing (8) Diffusion

b.16 cards detailing some of the processes in the nitrogen
cycle, 2 each of the following: (1) Nitrogen Fixation (2) Root
Absorption (3) Consumption (4) Death (5) Decomposition
(6) Denitrification (7) Fertilizer Creation (8) Diffusion

c.16 cards detailing some of the processes in the water cycle,
2 each of the following: (1) Evaporation (2) Surface Runoff
(3) Transpiration (4) Precipitation (5) Condensation (6) Infiltration
(7) Subsurface Flow (8) Freezing

3. A set of 60 Action Cards (20 related to carbon, 20 related to nitrogen, 20 related to water) – when a player lands on one of the symbols for carbon (coal), nitrogen (waste), or water (water drop) on the board then they get to pick up an action card with that matching symbol. Players who pick up an action card will usually receive bonuses or extra points, but may occasionally be the victim of bad luck from lost turns, lost cards, etc. Each action card has a factoid about one of the matter cycles interwoven into the details of the card’s bonus or penalty.

4. The Matter Cycle Game Rule Sheet – These are the rules used to play the matter cycle game. The rules are fairly straightforward and cover everything that a student will need to know in order to play the game successfully.

5. The Matter Cycles Game Lesson Plan and Teacher Guide – this is a simple document outlining how I personally use these materials in my classroom.

6. Additional contents for those who order the hard copy of the game (not included with this digital download): 1 die, 6 game pieces, and a custom game box which holds the contents of the game. In addition the board itself will be printed on chipboard, similar to what you would expect of most board games. Those interested in ordering the ready-to-play hard copy of the game, the link is listed further below.

The board game typically takes about 20-40 minutes to play depending on the number of players and their familiarity with the game, but the rules and requirements could easily be adapted to make the game go longer or shorter. My students really enjoy playing the matter cycle game, and so will yours. Download the free preview version to get a better idea of what to expect.

Please note, those who download this digital version of the game will be responsible for printing out, cutting out and preparing the contents for themselves. If you do not have access to a color printer that can handle printing on 11 x 17 paper then I would suggest purchasing the hard copy, ready-to-play version of the game which will be mailed to you already printed out and ready to go. If you are interested in ordering the hard copy version of the game then please click on the following link:

or click here for details about ordering a classroom set of 12 ready-to-play board games:

I hope that both you and your students enjoy your download. I am positive that it will be helpful in your classroom. Please be sure to leave feedback so that others can know what a great product this is, and be sure to become a fan and follow me so that you can get information on future releases.

Note – Anyone who downloads this board game is more than welcome to reuse or adapt any of the graphics, illustrations, and concepts for their own personal projects so long as these projects are not sold for profit or distributed outside of the classroom. Feel free to contact me with any questions or for any special permission. I’m a pretty accommodating person and the answer will probably be “yes”.

Keywords and Tags:

Matter Cycles
Water Cycle
Carbon Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle
Surface Runoff
Subsurface Flow
Fossil Fuel Formation
Nitrogen Fixation
Fertilizer Creation

Author: Lucas Talley (Mr. Talley)
Total Pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
45 Minutes

Average Ratings

Overall Quality:
27 ratings
Please log in to post a question.
Digital Download
User Rating: 4.0/4.0
Digital Download
The Matter Cycle Game (Carbon, Water, Nitrogen Cycle Board
The Matter Cycle Game (Carbon, Water, Nitrogen Cycle Board
The Matter Cycle Game (Carbon, Water, Nitrogen Cycle Board
The Matter Cycle Game (Carbon, Water, Nitrogen Cycle Board
Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educational materials.

Learn More

Keep in Touch!

Sign up