Forces of Change
For Educators

These activities extend the themes and content of the exhibit Atmosphere: Change is in the Air to middle school students, their teachers, and families. Like the exhibit, the activities explore the importance of our atmosphere, its functions and chemistry, and how scientists are tracking changes in the atmosphere - changes that impact all life on the planet. The activities also explore how the atmosphere connects to our global climate system and every breath we take.

Activity 1: What's Up? The Atmosphere! (PDF)

Learn the composition of the atmosphere and sketch its layers

Activity 2: Change is in the Air (PDF)

Compare the composition and temperature of Earth's paleo-atmosphere with the atmosphere’s composition and temperature over the past two centuries

Activity 3: Zapped! Atmosphere Reacts (PDF)

Test for ozone in the atmosphere and the conditions that lead to its formation

Activity 4: Atmosphere Detective (PDF)

Hands-on activity to become familiar with different scientific “ways of knowing” and become engaged in the scientific process

Activity 5: Atmosphere Transports (PDF)

Measure small particles called aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere and define their effects on weather and climate

Activity 6: Caught! Atmosphere Protects (PDF)

Simulate an ozone hole in a lab experiment and test the effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure on living cells

Activity 7: Greenhouse in a Jar (PDF)

Create a greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, through a simple chemical reaction, measure the effect of the gas on air temperature, and relate findings to the greenhouse effect in our atmosphere

Activity 8: UVs and Frisbees (PDF)

Test whether ultraviolet radiation is present in natural outdoor light and whether the intensity of the light varies with season and time of day