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free lesson plan and resources about earth's biosphere

Earth's Biomes - All About the Biosphere

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  • The students will learn about the Earth’s biosphere.

  • The students will be able to define the terms biosphere, biome, and ecosystem.

  • The students will be able to explain characteristics of the Earth’s biosphere.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the world around you. What are some things you find in nature?

  • Do you think you can find these things on other planets?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about the Earth’s biosphere?

Common Core State Standards:









Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

**Prior to the start of the class, fold up the “Biome Cards” and place them into the paper bag. Place the paper bag aside; it will be used during the activity**

**Students need to have access to information sources. If computers are available for use, allow the students to look up information on the computer. If not, allow the students to use encyclopedias or other books. Prior to the start of the lesson, the teacher could have the students choose a biome. The teacher could then provide information sheets about the student’s chosen biome**

  • Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils

What is the most important content in this lesson?
To reach this lesson’s objective, students need to understand:

  • The definition to the terms biosphere, biome, and ecosystem.

  • The characteristics of the Earth’s biosphere.

  • The biomes and ecosystems that are found on Earth.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • The teacher will begin the class by showing the video “Biosphere-Video” (Source: The video is about 2 ½ minutes long and discusses the Earth’s biosphere. The teacher will also hand out the video’s accompanying worksheet. As the students watch the video, they will fill in the blanks on their worksheet. After the video, the teacher should review the worksheet and discuss the video’s content.

  • Next, the teacher will hand out the worksheet packet “Earth’s Biosphere” If it is possible, project each page of the “Earth’s Biosphere” worksheet packet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project. As the teacher presents, the students will fill in the blank spaces on their worksheets. The worksheets should be reviewed in this order: “What is the Biosphere?”; “Earth’s Biomes”; “Earth’s Ecosystems”.  

** Not all of this information is included on the student worksheets. Use this as a guide when explaining each worksheet to the students**

  • “What is the Biosphere?” Worksheet:

    • Biosphere: the regions of the surface, atmosphere, and hydrosphere of the Earth (or analogous parts of other planets) occupied by living organisms (Dictionary Definition).

    • “Bio” comes from the Greek word for “life”.

    • English geologist Eduard Seuss and Russian physicist Vladimir I. Vernadsky developed the term “biosphere”.

    • The biosphere is described as the living world.

    • Scientists predict the biosphere is about 3.5 million years old.

    • The early life forms that existed in the biosphere included prokaryotes—organisms that used the sun to undergo photosynthesis. As the atmosphere developed, new life forms, including plants and animals, emerged.

    • The biosphere overlaps into the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere.

    • The biosphere consists of humans, plants, animals, and microbes/microorganisms.

    • The biosphere extends high up into the atmosphere (where you find birds and insects) and low into the ocean’s hydrothermal vents (where you find octopi, crustaceans, and mollusks).

    • The biosphere is any place where you can find life.

    • Scientists predict that the biosphere is about 12,500 meters (41,010 feet) thick.

    • The biosphere, from top to bottom, is about 12 kilometers (20 miles).

    • All life exists between 500 kilometers (1,640 feet) below the ocean to 6 kilometers (3.75 feet) above the ocean.

    • The sun is required to maintain life on Earth.

    • Plants use the sun to undergo photosynthesis, which helps to produce carbon dioxide.

    • On Earth, living things are classified into biomes and ecosystems.

  • “Earth’s Biomes” Worksheet

    • Biome: a region on Earth that shares the same climate, plants, and animals. Biomes are divided into land biomes (terrestrial) and water biomes (aquatic)

    • On Earth, the biomes include:

    • Aquatic

      • Freshwater: water that is not salty; includes lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, and swamps.

      • Freshwater Wetlands: saturated land; marshes, swamps

      • Marine: ocean water; seawater; anything referring to oceans/ seas.

      • Coral Reef: a formation of coral found in the sea.

      • Estuaries: mouth of a river; where freshwater meets saltwater.

    • Terrestrial

      • Tundra: extremely cold, vast, treeless land; found in the Arctic, northern parts of Europe, North America, and Asia.

      • Rainforest: forest found in a tropical region where it is very humid and rainfall is frequent.

      • Savanna: grassy plain, mainly flat, and has a few trees.

      • Taiga: swampy coniferous forest; found near the tundra and steppes.

      • Temperate Forest: forest with mild climate; found in North America.

      • Temperate Grasslands: grassland with mild climate.

      • Alpine: high mountainous region; very cold, snowy, and windy.

      • Chaparral: land with tangles shrubs and thorny bushes. 

      • Desert: area that is very hot and dry; has sand instead of grass. Desert can also refer to the cold, regions of the Arctic where there is very little vegetation.

    • Every location in the world is part of a biome.

  • “Earth’s Ecosystems” Worksheet

    • Ecosystem: a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment (Dictionary Definition)

    • Ecosystems are found in every biomes/ all over the world.

    • Ecosystems can be natural or man-made. Man-made ecosystems include farmlands, urban areas (cities), and urban-industrial areas (metropolis).

    • Ecosystems can become disrupted when a “stranger” enters. This stranger can disrupt the food chain, harm or eat the organisms.

    • Ecosystems can even be destroyed by natural disasters, such as fires, floods, weather, or man-made errors.

    • Ecosystems can be divided into three scales:

      • Micro: small ecosystem—pond, under a rock, in a tree.

      • Messo: medium—a forest, a lake.

      • Biome: a large ecosystem—rainforest, desert, ocean.

Information Sources:

  • After the worksheet is completed, the students will participate in an activity called “Traveling Through a Biome”. The students will work in pairs. The teacher will go around to each group and have one student pick a card from the paper bag. Each student will get a “Biome Observation Sheet.” Working together, the students will research the biome on their card. Refer to the materials section as to how the research information should be obtained. Allow the students to work for about 15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.


  • For closure, the students will work on a worksheet activity, called "Earth's Biosphere Assessment", where they will match a word from a word bank to its definition below. 

  • This can be used as an formal assessment or as an exercise to practice some of the vocabulary the students learned during the lesson. 

3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

10 minutes

Introductory Activity: Video & Worksheet

15 Minutes

“Earth’s Biosphere” Worksheet Packet

  • Give each student an “Earth’s Biosphere” worksheet packet.

  • Project each page of the worksheet onto the board either through a projector or PowerPoint presentation.

  • Students will fill in the blanks on their worksheet as the teacher presents.

  • Present the worksheets in this order: “What is the Biosphere?”; “Earth’s Biomes”; “Earth’s Ecosystems”.

15 Minutes

Activity: “Traveling Through a Biome”

  • Have the students break into pairs.

  • Give each student a “Biome Observation” worksheet.

  • Take the paper bag with the cards and go around to each group and have one student pick a card.

  • Tell the students to work with their partner to research their biome and complete their worksheet.

  • At the end of 15 minutes, have the students return to their desks and discuss the activity.

10 minutes

  • For closure, the students will work on a worksheet activity where they will match a word from a word bank to its definition below. 

  • This can be used as an formal assessment or as an exercise to practice some of the vocabulary the students learned during the lesson. 

  • If there is additional time, discuss any questions the students may have.

Individualized Instruction/Scaffolding

English Language Learners will be supported in this lesson through data-based heterogeneous grouping, verbal and written repetition of new vocabulary words, and multiple representation of vocabulary words through printed images and video.

Ecosystems, Biomes, and Habitats PowerPoint and Activities
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