Atmosphere Learning Progression 3-5

Created by Tina R Harte Last updated 5/3/2017

Lessons and Activities that align with the GLOBE Atmosphere Protocols, NGSS, and GLOBE Learning activities for the K-2 Mission Earth Atmosphere Learning Progression.

  • MY NASA DATA: Cloudy vs. Clear

    In this activity, students will examine line plots of NASA data and see that the sun heats up land, air, and water. Students will practice drawing conclusions based on graphed data of cloudy vs. clear sky observations. The lesson provides detailed procedures, related links and sample graphs, follow-up questions, extensions, and teacher notes. Designed for student use, MY NASA DATA LAS samples micro datasets from large scientific data archives, and provides structured investigations engaging students in exploration of real data to answer real world questions
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E5, 4E/P1, 9A/P4, 9B/E2
  • Do You Know That Clouds Have Names?

    In this science-based storybook, children learn that clouds have different names based on their appearance and position in the atmospheric column. Contrails, or condensation trails, are also discussed. The book is one of a series in the Elementary GLOBE unit designed to introduce students to the study of Earth system science (ESS). Each book has companion learning activities that complement the science covered in each story. Together, the books form an instructional unit that addresses ESS and related subjects (e.g., weather, water, seasons, soil, and aerosols).
  • MY NASA DATA: Seasons

    In this data analysis activity, students connect the idea of the tilt and orbit of the earth (changing of seasons) with monthly snow/ice data. The lesson includes step-by-step instructions for use of the MY NASA DATA Live Access Server (LAS), guiding students through selection of a data set from a location of their choice, importing the data into a spreadsheet, creating graphs, and analyzing data plots. The lesson provides detailed procedures, related links and sample graphs, follow-up questions, extensions, and teacher notes. Designed for student use, MY NASA DATA LAS samples micro datasets from large scientific data archives, and provides structured investigations engaging students in exploration of real data to answer real world questions
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/P1, 4B/P2, 4B/E3, 9B/E2
  • S'COOL Lesson: Cloud Discovery

    After researching cloud formations online or in the library, students create and share a PowerPoint presentation that describes and illustrates 12 kinds of clouds. A rubric for evaluating the PowerPoint is provided. The Students' Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL) project engages students in making and reporting ground truth observations of clouds then comparing those observations with data from the CERES satellite instrument.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E3
  • To Spread or Not to Spread

    In this introduction to contrails, students explore both the origin and the three types of contrails. An indoor activity using tempera paint precedes outdoor observations and analyses of actual contrails. This is the 2nd of 3 sets of learning activities that are companion activities to the Elementary GLOBE children's book, "Do You Know That Clouds Have Names?" Includes a teacher implementation guide. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1B/P3
  • S'COOL Lesson: Piece of the Sky: Introductory Activity for Making S'COOL Observations

    Cloud cover is a fundamental observation in the S'COOL project. The ability to reasonably estimate the percentage of cloud cover is introduced and practiced in this activity. The Students' Cloud Observations On-Line (S'COOL) project engages students in making and reporting ground truth observations of clouds then comparing those observations with data from the CERES satellite instrument.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1A/E2
  • S'COOL Lesson: Visual Opacity

    In this lesson bridging art and science, students build understanding of the terms translucent, opaque, and transparent, as they apply to cloud descriptions, and create a collage using materials matching these characteristics, as well as a powerpoint of cloud images having a range of optical properties. There are two activities in this lesson. The resource includes a scoring rubric, teaching notes, and a vocabulary list linked to a glossary. This activity is related to the NASA CERES Students Cloud Observations Online (S'COOL) project
  • Atmosphere Chapter-Cloud Watch

    Students observe cloud type and coverage and weather conditions over a five-day period and correlate these observations. Students make and test predictions using these observations. This is a learning activity associated with the Atmosphere chapter of the GLOBE Teacher Guide, and is supported by field protocols for study of the atmosphere.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E5
  • Why (Not) So Blue?

    Using water to represent the atmosphere and milk droplets to represent aerosols, students make predictions and conduct investigations to discover how different aerosol concentrations affect atmospheric color and visibility. This lesson is one of four in the GLOBE program storybook entitled, "What's Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors in the Sky." GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1A/E2, 4F/E3, 12A/E1
  • Observing Visibility and Sky Color

    Students become aware of the changes in visibility and sky color due to particles suspended in the air, called aerosols. They observe, document and classify changes in visibility and sky color over several days and understand the relationship between sky color, visibility and aerosols in the atmosphere. A student data sheet is included in the activity. This learning resource is part of the Atmosphere chapter of the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, and is supported by the GLOBE Aerosol protocol. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
  • Estimating Cloud Cover

    Working in pairs or small groups, students use construction paper to simulate cloud cover. They estimate the percentage of cloud cover represented by torn pieces of paper on a contrasting background and assign a cloud cover classification to the simulations created by their classmates. Students gain experience estimating cloud cover, evaluating the accuracy of estimates, and using fractions and percentages. This learning activity is from the Atmosphere chapter of the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, and is supported by the GLOBE Cloud Cover Protocol. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program
    AAAS Benchmarks: 9A/E7
  • Observing, Describing and Identifying Clouds

    In this activity, students observe and sketch clouds, describing their forms. They will initially generate descriptions of a personal nature and then move toward building a more scientific vocabulary. They correlate their descriptions with the standard classifications using the ten cloud types identified for GLOBE. Each student develops a personal cloud booklet to be used in conjunction with the GLOBE Cloud Chart. This learning resource is part of the Atmosphere chapter of the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, and is supported by the GLOBE Cloud protocol. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E5
  • Up In the Air

    Working in groups, students use contact paper to make samplers to collect local data on aerosols - the small particles found in the atmosphere. Students then analyze, interpret and make predictions based on their data. Both the instructions for making the aerosol sampler and the data sheets are included. This lesson is one of four in the Elementary GLOBE storybook entitled, "What's Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors in the Sky." GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/M15, 12A/E1
  • Sky Observers

    Twice each day, once during daytime and once at sunset, students observe sky color, visibility, and sky conditions over a one week period. Each observation is recorded on a sky report form (included) for follow-up discussions and comparisons. This lesson is one of four in the GLOBE program storybook entitled, "What's Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors in the Sky." GLOBE
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1A/E2, 4F/E3, 12A/E1
  • See the Light

    Through the use of prisms and glue sticks, this activity introduces students to a fundamental property of light: white light is made up of colors representing different wavelengths. Students use the results of the activity to explain the variation in sky color from daytime (blue) to sunset (red). This lesson is one of four in the GLOBE program storybook entitled, "What's Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors in the Sky." GLOBE
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1A/E2, 4F/M1
  • Breathable: NASA Monitors Our Changing Air Quality

    This twelve-minute YouTube video incorporates NASA imagery and visualizations as it traces the history of air quality research.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/M11bc
  • What's Up in the Atmosphere? Exploring Colors in the Sky

    n this science-based storybook, students Anita, Simon, and Dennis want to know why the sky isn't always blue. They learn that there's a lot more than air in the atmosphere, which can affect the colors we see in the sky. Four activities accompany the book. The book is one of a series in the Elementary GLOBE unit designed to introduce students to the study of Earth system science (ESS). Each book has companion learning activities that complement the science covered in each story. Together, the books form an instructional unit that addresses ESS and related subjects (e.g., weather, water, seasons, soil, and aerosols).
  • GLOBE Contrail Chart

    This identification chart is a basic guide to observing contrails. It shows examples of the three types of contrails: short-lived, persistent, and persistent spreading. The chart is intended for use by students participating in the GLOBE program. GLOBE (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment) is a worldwide, hands-on, K-12 school-based science education program.
  • S'COOL Lesson: Create a Cloud in a Bottle (Demonstration Version)

    With this lesson plan, students observe a demonstration of cloud formation that uses a 2L plastic beverage bottle and other simple ingredients to learn the three factors required for cloud formation. A test and a control experiment are conducted. Detailed procedure and materials, vocabulary linked to an on-line glossary, and teacher notes are provided. This activity is related to the NASA CERES Students Cloud Observations Online (S'COOL) project.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E3
  • MY NASA DATA: Basic Line Plots

    In this data analysis activity, students interpret basic line plots of wind speed using authentic NASA data. The lesson provides detailed procedures, related links and sample graphs, follow-up questions, extensions, and teacher notes. Designed for student use, MY NASA DATA LAS samples micro datasets from large scientific data archives, and provides structured investigations engaging students in exploration of real data to answer real world questions.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/E4, 9B/E2, 12B/E3
  • What Color Is the Sun?

    Two comic characters, Camilla Corona, a rubber chicken, and Colours O'IRIS, a peacock, explore questions relating to colors of light from the Sun. This comic is part of the series Tales from Stanford Solar.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4F/M5
  • Building a Thermometer

    In this learning activity, students will construct a soda-bottle thermometer, which is similar to the thermometer used by GLOBE schools. Both are based on the principle that most substances expand and contract as their temperature changes. This experiment also demonstrates the principle of heat transfer. The resource includes an activity and data sheet for student use. This resource is in the Atmosphere chapter of the GLOBE Teacher's Guide, and is supported by GLOBE atmosphere field protocols.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4D/M3ab
  • Spheres of Earth

    The activity introduces students to aspects of the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and litho/geosphere and how they are interrelated. It is designed to promote an interest in authentic investigations of Earth using images acquired by astronauts as the hook. Separate student and teacher guides are available.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 4B/M2ab, 11A/E1