Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#1437. The Earth's Atmosphere

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Sun Dec 12 12:21:46 PST 1999 by Sara I. Register (
Student Teacher, Tucson, Arizona
Materials Required: 8ft butcher paper per group, coloring devices of choice, science-earth magazines for cutting.
Activity Time: 1 week--45 mins a day
Concepts Taught: Layers of the Earth's Atmosphere

I created a cut out image of the layers and gave them to
groups of children to put in the correct order
After that I asked why they put it where it where they
put it just to see if they had any idea what each one
really meant.
Then I passed out 8 foot lengths of butcher paper to each
group. The length was divided into 4 sections with Earth
being at the bottom. This time they were label correctly.
We started off talking about the first layer. During
this time, it was the children's responsibility to take the
clues I explained about that layer and write it in their
section. Each section needed written details and pictures
of things they would find there. I brought out Science
Magazines on Earth and Planets so they could cut pictures
When we were done with our group butcher paper "Atmosphere"
we covered a section of the wall and compared notes.. We
only had about 4-5 groups so it didn't take up alot of space.

During this time our college class had visited the Lowell
Observatory in Flagstaff, Az. If there is one near you, it
would be recommended to take a afternoon family trip to see
the exhibit halls they have. This could be very informational
for them. I know our Observatory has alot to offer.

As for literature, I just read them books that had to do
with Earth and Planets. We had to do this project for a
Science Class in College so it was brief. The estimated
time above is the actual time I suggested.

This is the basic outline I used for the notes and lectures:
Atmosphere Outline
I. Troposphere
- Extends to a height ranging from 8 kilo (5 Miles) at poles to about 16 kilo
(10 Miles) at equator.
- Practically all weather conditions take place here.
- Air is coldest at the poles.
- Stable air temperature steadily decreases with altitude.

II. Stratosphere
- Reaches to about 80 kilo (50 Miles) above the Troposphere.
- Layer in which airlines use on some routes for long-range cruising.
- Cold, thin air is remarkably smooth and clear.
- Jet Streams- lower reaches of the stratosphere and the Troposphere- rivers of high-velocity air streams.
- Ozone- altitude of 16 kilo to 48 kilo (10 to 30 Miles)- absorbs much of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation.

III. Ionosphere
- Beyond a height of about 80 kilo (50 Miles).
- Stratosphere gradually blends into the Ionosphere.
- Meteors burn to ashes from friction as they strike scattered air molecules.
- Radio waves travel is straight lines, even though earth is curved.

IV. Exosphere
- Begins at about 1,000 kilo (600 Miles) and extends to an undetermined
- This region may be considered the beginning of interplanetary space.