Understanding connections between spheres of the Earth as a Global System. In this lesson plan students will also recognize how a system functions. Students also will be able to recognize that our planet contains 4 spheres, namely the hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere (geosphere) and biosphere.

  • Students will be able to recognize that their campus or nearby field/park/canyon/forest is an example of how the planet contains 4 spheres: hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere (geosphere) and biosphere.
  • Students will be able to recognize the applications of simple scientific instruments (e.g. rulers, thermometers).
  • Students often think atmosphere is separate from lithosphere and hydrosphere is separate from lithosphere. Students therefore may think that these spheres of the planet are separate and do not function as a whole.
  • Using the Earth’s Spheres PowerPoint, students follow with the teacher the various slides that introduce students to Earth’s spheres. The questions students will start with will relate to the warm up and a picture of the Earth in which students will answer the following question: What are the major parts of our planet that can interact as a system?
  • Strategy: Think Pair Share (Students 1st think about the question and answer on their own, pair up with another person in class and each person shares responses). Allow students to come to their own answers and follow up with showing the next slides that explain defines the terms lithosphere (geosphere), hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Follow these definitions with the slides that model and explain sphere interactions.
  • On day 2 (recalling yesterday’s lesson) have a brief class discussion about defining the four types of spheres.
  • Day 1: Introducing Earth’s Four Spheres.
  • Day 2: The Four Spheres in the Field.
  • Class Discussion. After Gallery Walk and time permitting, discuss with class how these interactions act as an example of Earth as a system.
  • Exit slip or Homework: How might the sphere interactions have been different before there was a city? Before there were people?
  • If time permits, can have students answer the following question at home or use this as an Exit Slip: Do you think clouds should be classified as part of the atmosphere, or part of the hydrosphere? Explain why or why not.
  • Remember that during the class discussions, each person has a turn to speak and nobody should interrupt or comment until the person speaking is finished with their comments.
  • Remind students of campus field walk and to come to school with comfortable attire and shoes.
  • Taking students on a campus or nature walk, remind students of proper behavior and any potential hazards you are familiar with if you are taking them for a nature walk.
  • Warmup: Students brainstorm explanations about the term “system.” How does the circulatory system, respiratory system and nervous system relate to the human body? What are some other systems you can explain?.
  • Strategies: Brainstorming (students record question and jot down ideas related to answering the question) and Class Discussion (after 3 minutes of brainstorming, students share responses in a teacher lead discussion).
  • Individually, students will record the definitions of the terms: geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  • Students will use a graphic organizer, placing a description the photos displayed in slide 7 in the center of the paper and then record their responses when they observe images on the PowerPoint and draw lines to connect the various spheres to each other to indicate interactions.
  • After working individually students will share responses with a partner: Think-Pair-Share.
  • In groups of four, students will observe the final images on the power point and using a poster students will create a chart with the terms geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere – spacing them out to allow each student to record their ideas on sphere interactions using a different color markers than their classmates. They will take turns to share with the group what they think are the interactions and why.
  • Gallery Walk, students will hang up their posters and as a class students will read each groups’ responses.
  • Warmup: Have students write down the following questions and allow time for them to record their responses: Identify Earth’s four spheres and explain what type of sphere interactions you are experiencing right now?
  • After working individually, students will return to the classroom and share responses by using the backside of the posters from yesterday.
  • Students will create another chart like the one on the front of their poster and each student will record their ideas on sphere interactions using a different color marker than their classmates. They will take turns to share with the group what they think an interaction is and why.
  • Have students post response and perform another Gallery walk.

Earth's Sphere Interaction

Earth's Sphere Representation

Earth's Sphere Representation
Lesson Materials
Lesson Specifics
  • California Science Standard: 5a, 5b, 5c, and 5f

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