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Atmospheric Layers Lesson Overview

Students will look at the different layers of the atmosphere to determine how the atmosphere helps sustain life on Earth. The students will model the layers of the atmosphere through an interactive lab that looks at characteristics of the atmosphere by analyzing the atmospheric temperature profile and the special features that can be found in each layer.


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110 minutes
Whole class and groups of 3-4 students
PTI Inquiry
1.3, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.7, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.9
Lesson Components Time Inquiry Skills Tech. Used Engage Level Brief Description
Engage 8-10 min 1.3, 3.7 YouTube Video 1 Red Bull jump from stratosphere video
Explore 60 min 3.5, 3.7, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 none 3 Students will look at the layer tube and then use it to label their lab sheet. Students will then observe and graph data.
Explain 20-25 min 3.3, 3.4, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.9 none 3 Students will sort the words and pictures into their appropriate place within Earth’s layers.. Students will write the info on their lab sheet.
Expand 8-10 min 3.5, 5.2, 5.3 digital image 2 Students will view the full jump video, respond to questions, and discuss.
Evaluate 5 min 5.1 none 1 Exit slip- will check for student understanding.

Level of Student Engagement

1 Low Listen to lecture, observe the teacher, individual reading, teacher demonstration, teacher-centered instruction
2 Medium Raise questions, lecture with discussion, record data, make predictions, technology interaction with assistance
3 High Hands-on activity or inquiry; critique others, draw conclusions, make connections, problem-solve, student-centered

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