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Global Atmospheric Change

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, Barbara Tharp and Judith Dresden

Everyone Counts

For more than 100 years, human actions have been changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Increases in the levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) and decreases in the amounts of stratospheric ozone both have been measured. These processes have the potential to impact humans in many ways.

This activity is designed to assess student understanding of concepts related to global atmospheric change. Each student will write a persuasive letter about a topic related to protecting the atmosphere.


  1. Tell students that they will write persuasive letters to each other related to global atmospheric change. Introduce letter writing skills if needed. Mention that global atmospheric change is a broad category that includes global warming and loss of atmospheric ozone. Also mention that all of us do things every day that contribute to these problems. Each student should try to convince the reader to help protect the atmosphere by changing behaviors to reduce the possibility or impact of global warming or ozone depletion.

  2. Review the importance of our global environment to individual health and to the health of the planet. You may use the “Tips for Healthy Living” on page 3 of Explorations or pages 34–35 in Mr. Slaptail’s Curious Contraption, or a review of the activities in this unit to guide students.

  3. Each student should select one issue presented in this unit and write a letter to try to convince someone to help protect the atmosphere.

  4. Distribute pre-assessments back to each student. Ask students to examine their answers and, using a different color, to circle new answers based on information they have learned.

  5. Discuss students’ changes as a group.

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