layers of the atmosphere lesson earth science 4th 5th

Layers of the Atmosphere unit



We’ve been having a bad luck run with our science lessons recently.  It feels like most of our projects just go horribly wrong, and I’ve felt rather unenthused about posting them because of that.  But, I have an earth science project that went great, and I need to move forward.  So I present our layers of the atmosphere lesson.

Hands on atmosphere lesson

Layers of the Atmosphere theories

There are two different theories for the earth’s atmosphere: composition and temperature.  The composition theory is rather boring: two different types, which I’m not bothering with right now.  So let’s look at the layer by temperature, that’s what we most often hear referred to.

The layers of the atmosphere according to temperature are: the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere.

Layers of the Atmosphere project supplies

atmosphere lesson supplies

4 shades of blue tissue paper (I save all tissue paper from presents we receive or you can buy some:Colored Tissue Pack), watered down School Glue, Marker Tower, and card stock

Making your layers of the atmosphere project

Atmosphere lesson step 1

Cover the cardstock with glue and put the lightest color of the atmosphere over the glue.  This represents the Troposphere.

atmosphere lesson step 2

Tear the edges of the next lightest shade of blue (if you want go ahead and do this for all the rest of the shades).  We’re doing this to show it’s not a clear hard line between the layers, but a gradual change.

Atmosphere lesson step 4

Slowly add the different layers, the middle two layers are double the size of the others, so allow them more space (I felt it was kind of silly to show every single step over and over, also I didn’t take pictures).  The final layer is the very darkest blue color.

atmosphere lesson step 5

Finally, add information about each of the layers.  Here’s the shorthand we added, obviously our CKE Earth and Space book had more information.

  • Troposphere- always changing, where most of the weather happens
  • Stratosphere- temperature goes up as you go up
  • Mesosphere- strong winds
  • Thermosphere- protects us from the meteors falling into our atmosphere
layers of the earth's atmosphere lesson

We also had a bit of fun adding in our own little odds and ends of personality.

For more earth science ideas check out my Pinterest board:

Follow Ticia Adventures in Mommydom’s board Earth Science for kids on Pinterest.

Check out some more 4th-grade fun

Apparently, we studied Earth Science during 4th grade, so let’s see what else we studied then:


12 responses to “Layers of the Atmosphere unit”

  1. How timely that you would post about the layers of the atmosphere this week. We, as you know, are studying rockets and talking about how far they go up. This will fit in perfectly!

    1. Oh yes it would, I hadn’t even thought about that.

  2. Ok that looks cool. We did a fun layers of the atmosphere project last year too 🙂

    1. There’s a lot of really cool layers of the earth activities out there.

  3. Okay, that last photo has me curious. Your layers of the atmosphere activity is great!

    1. It makes for quite a story.

  4. I had no idea there were different theories about the atmosphere – interesting. Love the project. But, I’m really looking forward to hearing about that last picture 🙂

    1. I hadn’t known either until I read the chapter. I’d only known about the ones we covered now.

  5. I love your project. Earth sciences is something we haven’t covered at all and I can’t wait. Glad you are doing it first though!

    1. We’ve had fun with it even if our projects haven’t gone as well as I would have liked.

  6. It can be so discouraging when science projects don’t work out (especially when you count on them to help information sink in!) – this layers of the atmospheres project turned out great though!

  7. This is a great lesson! It sounds like you had a very busy Easter. We spent most of ours packing for our trip, but there was an obligatory egg hunt.

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