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Modeling Earth's Atmosphere

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

What Surrounds the Earth?

Ask the class, Have you ever have seen pictures of astronauts in space? Why do astronauts wear special suits? Mention that a space suit keeps astronauts warm, provides them with air to breathe and protects them from harmful rays from the sun. 

Follow by asking if we need to wear space suits here on Earth. Help students to understand that the thin layer of gases surrounding Earth—the atmosphere—provides protection for all of the planet, just as space suits protect astronauts. Mention that, as a class, the students will create a small scale model of the Earth’s protective layer of gases.


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education