Climate Change Activity: History of Earth’s Atmosphere Timeline


Learn how Earth’s atmosphere has changed over time.

Grades 7 and Up

Great introduction to a unit on climate, Earth’s atmosphere, global warming, and climate change!

In this activity, students will:

  • READ a short introduction about how the atmosphere has changed since the beginning of the Earth itself.
  • ORGANIZE TIMELINE CARDS. Students are given 9 atmosphere cards, each describing the atmosphere at a particular point in history. Information includes the makeup of gases (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, etc.) and factors that influenced the atmosphere (volcanoes, oceans absorbing carbon dioxide, evolution of plants, etc.). USING CONTEXT CLUES and the dates on the cards, students put the cards in chronological order. Critical thinking is required!
  • ANSWER follow-up analysis questions including a claims/evidence/reasoning section.

Two versions of the cards are provided. One version has larger-sized cards for visual appeal and the other has smaller cards so that all 9 can be easily printed on one set of paper. We use the smaller cards, put the sets in envelopes, and reuse the sets class-to-class and year-to year, saving tons of time at the copier.

Get this activity at a huge discount in our comprehensive Climate Change Unit!

NGSS Standards: MS-ESS3-4, MS-ESS2-6, MS-ESS3-5, MS-ESS2-6, HS-ESS3-5

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