These free notebook pages review Earth’s 4 major systems (or spheres) and familiarize students with the scientists who study them.
What are the major Earth Systems? the Atmosphere, Geosphere, Biosphere, Hydrosphere (and Cryosphere)
Scientists study the physical, chemical, and biological components of these environments. By subdividing Earth’s systems into subcategories scientists are more easily able to study and understand the planet’s natural cycles and processes.
This semester my youngest is doing a unit on oceans and oceanography – a study of Earth’s hydrosphere. I wanted to be sure she knew that this was one of four major systems that are all interconnected & interlinked.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere is the layer of gases that surround the earth keeping the planet warm and providing oxygen for breathing and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Scientists who study the atmosphere are called atmospheric scientists. Those who study the weather are called meteorologists. And those who study seasonal variations over months, years or centuries are called climatologists.
Geosphere: The geosphere includes the interior and surface of the Earth. Both of these are made up of rocks and minerals. The scientists that study this sphere are called geologists.
Hydrosphere: This is the part of the Earth that is covered by water. Oceanography is the study of the physical chemical and biological features of the ocean. Scientists who study the oceans include oceanographers or marine biologists.
Cryosphere: This includes those portions of Earth’s surface where water is in solid form, including sea ice, lake ice, river ice, snow cover, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, and frozen ground.
Biosphere: This is the part of the Earth that can support living life. The biosphere extends from underground (down about ten feet where plant roots, animals, insects, bacteria live) and underwater (as deep as the ocean trenches) to higher up in the atmosphere where life (plants and animals down to microbes) can exist. Within the biosphere, living things form ecological communities based on the physical surroundings of an area. These communities are referred to as biomes. Scientists that study living organisms and living systems are called biologists. Those who study plants are called botanists. An ecologist is a scientist who studies the relationship of living things with their living and nonliving environment.
If you are doing units such as Earth Science, the Layers of the Earth, weather, biology & Earth’s biomes, or on the oceans, you may also want to review Earth’s basic spheres.
These are included in both the Earth Science Packet and I’ll be adding the new activity to the Ocean Unit soon. My youngest is doing a big ocean unit this fall and so we spent time going over these… and also going over the names of scientists who might study these systems.
I made new notebook pages on Earth’s major systems to go over with my daughter, who is studying oceanography (ie. the hydrosphere) this fall. This the quick lapbook/interactive notebook activity I made for her. She’ll add this to her science notebook.
These are free to download (though as I said above, I also include them in the beginning of the Earth Science Packet and the Ocean Unit). 🙂 ~Liesl
Click on the link or the picture below to download these free notebook pages.
Here are more about our science packets and how we covered each sphere:
Geosphere (Earth Science)
We have gone into a lot of depth about the Geosphere — ie. our Earth Science Unit where we talked about
- Earth’s place in 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
- Earthquakes (and we made our own earthquake shake table!)
- 4 Types of Mountains Worksheets, 4 types of Volcanoes Worksheets, Parts of a Volcano Worksheet
Last spring, we went over clouds, winds, fronts and more in our Weather Unit.
When the kids were younger, we did a lot of mini-units on Animals. You can find out more about the Animal Unit, Rainforest Unit and other material we covered when they were in K-3rd grade or so here at the Big Animal Bundle page.
Biology Packet: When the kids were in upper elmentary and middle school, we did a unit on the different biomes and talked about the energy pyramid, food chain/food web, and different biologicial relationships (symbiosis, mutualism, etc.).
Ocean Unit: There is so much to learn about Earth’s oceans – everything from marine habitats and water form words, to the features of the ocean floor, ocean life, bioluminescence and more! We covered this unit when my kids were in Middle School and supplemented with the wonderful documentary, Blue Planet – and now Blue Planet 2 (with my youngest who is doing this unit this fall).
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