Earth’s 4 Major Systems (Free): Atmosphere, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere

As we start off our new science units, I wanted to be sure the kids remembered Earth’s 4 major systems (or ecospheres): atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere.  We spent several days just reviewing these four systems in a general way.  You know me, I also made the kids some notebook pages and review cards to go along with our discussion!  I thought it might be helpful for some of you as well. You’ll find those (free!) below.

What are the 4 major Earth systems (ecospheres)?

Atmosphere — the mixture of gases that surround the planet   The atmosphere is divided by altitude into different layers.

Geosphere — the solid portions of Earth and the layers within the Earth (which are also divided into layers such as the crust, mantle, etc.)

Biosphere — all life on Earth. in other words all living organisms on Earth, including those on the land, in the water, and in the air. Within the biosphere, living things form ecological communities based on the physical surroundings of an area. These communities are referred to as biomes.

Hydrosphere – all water found on, under, and over the surface of Earth


So, as we started our new unit, we reviewed some of the material we covered in the past year or so:

Geosphere: We have gone into a lot of depth about the Geosphere — ie. our Earth Science Unit where we talked about

  • Earth’s and the Solar System
  • the layers of the Earth
  • Geography Terms: Earth’s Axis and the Seasons; Latitude Longitude
  • Plate Movement Worksheets, Types of Plate Boundaries
  • the 3 types of faults
  • Earthquakes (we made our own earthquake shake table!)
  • 4 Types of Mountains Worksheets, 4 types of Volcanoes Worksheets, Parts of a Volcano Worksheet
  • plus we did over a dozen hands-on activities (and instructions are included)

Earth-Science-Packet 150 page - worksheets hands-on activities and more

Hands-On-Activities-EarthScienceUnitEarth Science Unit - Layers of the Earth Activities Types of Volcanoes Worksheets - Interactive Notebook Pages

Atmosphere: We also spent quite a bit of time studying Earth’s atmosphere when we did our weather unit a couple of years ago. We reviewed the layers of the atmosphere as well. Click here to see the newly updated Layers of the Atmosphere Packet:

Earth's Atmosphere Packet 50+ pagesLayers of the Atmosphere Packet - Worksheets Hands-On Activities Notebook Pages

This time around we’re going to spend some time on the biosphere, before moving onto a huge unit on the hydrosphere… ie. an Ocean Unit (the major oceans, marine habitats, tides, layers of the ocean, deep ocean habitats and more). Click on the pictures to check out those units. They are now available!

Biology Unit - biomes biological interactionssymbiosis commensalism mutualism worksheets and activitiesFood Chain Food Web Food Pyramid Activties - Interactive Notebook PagesOcean Unit Middle SchoolMarine Habitats Worksheets

As an introduction to these new units, I made these notebook pages on the 4 major ecosystems. I printed out the second page for the kids (and provided the answer key for you on the first page!) I made Montessori 3-Part Cards for the 4 ecospheres for those with younger kids and/or for those who use Montessori materials in your homeschool/classroom. Or if you prefer, you can use the plain notebook page on p. 4 (which is what we used).

Hope you find these useful!  🙂 ~Liesl

Free: Earth Systems Atmosphere Geosphere Biosphere Hydrosphere Worksheets

4-Major-Earth-Systems-Biosphere-Atmosphere-Geosphere-HydrosphereI actually made some smaller review card pictures as well which I left in the file as well. I have them on a foam stick because we have some of our review cards stuck in cups. 🙂 It works for us right now!


You might be interested in the Earth’s Systems Interactive Notebook pages which are in the Layers of the Atmosphere Packet:

Earth's Atmosphere one of the spheres - geosphere hydrosphere Activity

Earth's Atmosphere - Earth Systems Earth Systems - Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere Notebook Activity - Earth System Lapbook PiecesAt a later date, we actually spent time learning about Earth’s Magnetosphere. We spent time learning about magnets and magnetic spheres, talked about Earth’s magnetosphere and then spent time learning how animals navigate by sensing Earth’s magnetic fields.  (That portion was really neat because many of the latest discoveries have come in the past five years!) You can find out more at this post:  Magnetism Unit on Magnetic Fields, the Magnetosphere, and Animal Migration

Magnetism Unit - Magnets Magnetic Fields Magnetosphere Migration

Magnet Unit - the Magnetosphere Magnetic North - Making a CompassEarth's Magnetic Field and Animal Migration
We started our unit on the Types of Animals (5 Vertebrate groups and their characteristics, Invertebrate groups, etc.) geared more for my 2nd grader… This is available here: Animal Unit

Types-of-Animals-Worksheetsand our Biology Unit (Ecology Unit)


Food Chain Food Web Food Pyramid Activties - Interactive Notebook Pages

symbiosis commensalism mutualism worksheets and activities

After that we went on to study the Ocean (the hydrosphere!)


You may be interested in these related posts:

Earth-Science-Packet 150 page - worksheets hands-on activities and more

Layers of the Earth interactive notebook page- Earth Science UnitEarth Science Worksheets

Earth's Atmosphere Packet 50+ pages

After our Biology/Biosphere Unit, we went on to study the hydrosphere — ie. the ocean. Find out more about our ocean unit here:

Ocean-Unit-Packet-Marine-Habitats-Ocean-Currents-Tides-BioluminescenceFeatures-of-the-Ocean-Floor-Worksheets Ocean-Unit-Salinity-Activities Layers-of-the-Ocean-ActivitiesFish-Body-Shape-Features-Worksheets

See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! Don’t forget to Subscribe to our Homeschool Den Newsletter. You might also want to check out some of our resources pages above (such as our Science, Language Arts, or History Units Resource Pages) which have links to dozens of posts.  You might want to join our free Homeschool Den Chat Facebook group.  Don’t forget to check out Our Store as well. :) ~Liesl

Homeschool Den StoreHappy Homeschooling, everyone!!  ~Liesl


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2 Responses

  1. Anne Reardon says:

    I love your stuff! I am excited about the 4 major ecosystems….I can’t seem to find the link above?? And looking forward to the animals and biosphere packets. Thank you!

    • homeschooldenadmin says:

      Thank you SO much for leaving a message, Anne! The link is now working. We finished the activities in the animal packet just before the holidays and I also updated that new link. We’re working through our biology unit now… the kids just did oral presentations on one of the biomes & we’re going into more depth about those this week. Hope to share that packet sometime soon (but I’m always afraid I have typos, so I don’t like to share things until we’ve gone over them and I’ve seen the printed version!). 🙂 ~Liesl

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