© 2017 by Elementary School Science. 

ryan@elementaryschoolscience

  • Facebook Social Icon

ElementarySchoolScience.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking ElementaryScienceClass.com” to Amazon.com.

What Makes Up Earth's Surface? A Look At Earth's Four Spheres

Objectives:

  • The students will be able to name each of Earth’s four spheres.

  • The students will be able to describe each of Earth’s four spheres.

  • The students will be able to explain the importance of each of Earth’s four spheres.

Questions that encompasses the objective:

  • Think about the world around you. What do you think makes up the Earth’s crust/surface?

Prepare the Learner: Activating Prior Knowledge. 

How will students prior knowledge be activated?

Warm up by asking students:

  • What do you know about Earth’s spheres?

Common Core State Standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.1 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.4

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.2.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 B

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.4

Materials and Free Resources to Download for this Lesson: 

**If using magnets, place one on the back of each card so that it can easily stay on the blackboard/chalkboard**

This lesson contains affiliate links to products I have used and personally recommend. At no cost to you, I make a commission for purchases made through the links or advertisements. These commissions help to pay for the costs of the site and enable it to remain free for anyone who wants to use it. 

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

  • Earth’s four spheres.

  • The name of each sphere.

  • The materials that make up each sphere.

  • The function/ importance of each sphere.

How will the learning of this content be facilitated?

  • The teacher will begin the class by conducting the activity “Guess the Greek Prefix”. The teacher will have four cards, each one will have one of these prefixes: litho; atmo; hydro; bio. The teacher will hold up each card, say the word on the card, have the students repeat the word, and then ask the students what they think the word means. After the students guess the answer/ teacher tells them the answer, the teacher will place the card on the blackboard/chalkboard (place the cards in a horizontal order). Once all the cards have been shown, the teacher will hold up the “sphere” word card. Again, the teacher will ask the students to define the word. After the students guess the answer/ the teacher tells them the answer, the teacher will place the card under the “Greek Prefix” word cards. The teacher will then say the Greek prefixes, but this time add “sphere” to the end: lithosphere; atmosphere; hydrosphere; biosphere. The teacher will ask the students if they can define these words. The teacher should begin a discussion about these words and explain that these four spheres make up the Earth’s surface.

Prefix Answers: litho = stone; atmo = air; hydro = water; bio = life

  • Next, the teacher will hand out the worksheet packet “What Makes Up the Earth’s Surface?” If it is possible, project each page of the “What Makes Up the Earth’s Surface?” worksheet packet onto the board using a projector or put into a PowerPoint document and project. As the teacher presents each worksheet, the students will fill in the blanks. The worksheets should be presented in this order: “Lithosphere”; “Hydrosphere”; “Biosphere”; “Atmosphere’.

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

  • Lithosphere

    • Covers the entire planet

    • Solid, rocky, inorganic crust (land)

    • Ranges in thickness from 40 km to 280 km

    • Once the materials on Earth begin to become fluid-like, that is where the lithosphere ends.

  • Hydrosphere

    • Made up of water

    • Ranges from 10 km – 20 km in thickness

    • Includes: oceans, lakes, rivers, swamps, moisture in the air, etc.

    • Saltwater = 97.5% Freshwater = 2.5% (2/3 of freshwater is found in ice sheets)

  • Biosphere

    • Made up of all the living things: plants, animals, one-celled organisms.

    • All living things are found from three meters below the ground to thirty meters above the ground and in the top 200 meters of the ocean. However, some organisms, such as birds and fish, go beyond these meters.

    • Biomes are found in the biosphere.

    • Biomes can be seen from outer space.

  • Atmosphere

    • Made up of the air that surrounds the Earth.

    • Earth is made up of 79% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. The remaining percentage is made up of other gases.

    • Atmosphere acts as protection for the biosphere from the sun’s UV rays.

Information Sources:

http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/fourspheres.htm

http://www.cotf.edu/ete/ESS/ESSspheres.html

  • After the worksheet is completed, the students will participate in an activity called “Earth Brochure”. The students can either work individually or in pairs. The students will create a brochure advertising why someone from another planet should come visit Earth. The students should include information about the Earth’s spheres and the importance of each sphere. Allow the students to work for about 15 minutes. Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

**This activity can either be used as a presentation or graded assignment**

Closure

  • The final assessment will be for the students to answer the question:

Think about what you learned in class today. How many spheres does Earth have? What are the names of the spheres? Write two important details about each sphere. Which sphere would you recommend for the alien visitor to inhabit, the atmosphere, lithosphere, or hydrosphere and why?

Time/Application
3-5 minutes
Guided Introduction

Review the class/ agenda with the students:

  • Introductory Activity: “Guess the Greek Prefix”

  • Discussion: Earth’s Spheres

  • Activity: “Earth Brochure”

  • Discussion of Activity

  • Independent Assessment

10 minutes

Introductory Activity: “Guess the Greek Prefix”

  • Show the students the “Greek Prefix” cards.

  • Ask the students to define the prefix.

  • Place cards on the board. Once all of the cards have been presented, place the “Sphere” word card under. Say each prefix, this time including the word “sphere” at the end. Ask the students for the definition of the new words.

15 Minutes

“Earth’s Spheres” worksheet packet

  • Give each student an “Earth’s Spheres” 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.

15 Minutes

Activity: “Earth Brochure”

  • The students can either work individually or with a partner.

  • Give each student some cardstock/ construction paper and crayons/markers/colored pencils.

  • Tell the students to create a brochure advertising why someone from another planet should come visit Earth.

  • Allow the students to work for about 15 minutes.

  • Reconvene and discuss when the students are finished.

Closure/Assessment
10 minutes

  • As an independent assessment, the students will answer the question:  

Think about what you learned in class today. How many spheres does Earth have? What are the names of the spheres? Write two important details about each sphere. Which sphere would you recommend for the alien visitor to inhabit, the atmosphere, lithosphere, or hydrosphere and why

  • Appropriate answers should include (but will vary):

The Earth has four spheres: lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. Facts will vary, but should come from the worksheet packet reviewed in class.

  • If there is additional time, discuss any questions the students might 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