Water Cycle - Atmosphere (3)
Pre Lab 

  • Comparing the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere.
  • Contrasting the components of the "spheres."
  • atmosphere
  • hydrosphere
  • lithosphere
  • crayons
  • worksheet

Students analyze the "spheres" of the Earth.

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The “sphere” in lithosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere means envelop.  The atmosphere, therefore, consists of gases that envelop the Earth.  The hydrosphere defines the water that covers 71% of the Earth's surface.  The lithosphere refers to the rocks of the Earth’s surface and upper mantle, or the depth of the plates.  The atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere interact with each other to make our planet liveable.  Without any one of them, we could not survive as a planet.

The atmosphere is layered.  The layer we live in is called the troposphere where we have wind, clouds, and all of our weather.  Within the troposphere the right mixture of oxygen with nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and other rare gases allows organisms to survive.  As you go higher in the atmosphere, the mixture of the gases changes.  The temperature also changes.

The layer above the troposphere is called the stratosphere and is about 32 km thick.  The upper part of the stratosphere is called the ozone layer.  Ozone is a form of oxygen that help protect the surface of the Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet rays. Ozone is not the same form as the oxygen we breathe. 

The next layer is called the Mesosphere which is colder than the stratosphere.  This is followed by the Ionosphere where the temperature rises. 

The amount of air also varies in each of the layers.  Close to the Earth the air is concentrated and under pressure, while at about 35,000 meters (115,000 feet) the weight of the air is just one one-hundredth of the surface value.  In other words, if you were in an airplane that high, you could not breathe if you were outside of the plane. 

  1. Discuss with students the terms atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere.  Use as many examples as you can.

    This diagram is a guideline of some of the points you should go over.
ATMOSPHERE gases including  water vapor  oxygen is one of the gases, which is  needed by most organisms
HYDROSPHERE water, including  salt and fresh without water living  things could not  survive,  transportation
LITHOSPHERE rocks  needed to make soil provides materials  for manufacturing
  1. Provide students with worksheet and have them color the different spheres and define each of the sphere on the worksheet.

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