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 UnitHands-On-Activities-EarthScienceUnit

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 amosphere as well.

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).

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 someone finds 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!

EarthSystems-geosphere-atmosphere-biosphere-hydrosphereWe 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… for my older two

Biology-Unit-Biomes-Habitats-Biological-InteractionsAfter that we went on to study the Ocean (the hydrosphere!)


You may be interested in these related posts:

50+ Page Earth Science Packet

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


See you again soon here or over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page. Don’t forget to sign up for our Homeschool Den Newsletter! ~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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