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 Earth 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.

4 Major Earth Systems Biosphere Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere - Free Printable

What are the 4 major Earth systems (ecospheres)?

These are some of the units we’ve covered:

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

See our Atmosphere Unit:

Layers of the Atmosphere Unit - Troposphere Stratosphere - Mesosphere - Thermosphere Exosphere

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

See our Earth Science Unit:

Earth Science Unit - Layers of the Earth Plate Movement Earthquakes Volcanoes and more!

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.

See our Biology/Ecology Unit

Biomes Worksheets and Cards - 70 Page Packet - Plus Food Cycle Food Web and more

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

See our Ocean Unit (i.e. the Hydrosphere) here:

Ocean Unit - Marine Habitats Layers of the Ocean Ocean Floor Mapping Fish Body Shape Bioluminescence 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 you find these useful!  🙂 ~Liesl

FREE pdf : Earth’s Systems – Notebook Pages and Interactive Notebook Activity

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!

(Note, my kids were 7, 10 and 12 at the time I made these materials. We needed a lot of review especially for my youngest!)


We used these as introductory pages… and then each year we tackled a different Earth System in more depth.  One year we covered the Geopshere, ie.  Earth Science.  Another year we covered the Biosphere (Earth’s biomes, ecosystems, habitats, biological relationships, symbiosis, food chains, the food web, and so forth). Another year we covered the hydrosphere (Earth’s oceans).   More recently, we talked about Earth’s atmosphere and the magnetosphere.  I’ll share a little more about the units that we have done over the years. These are units are available in Our Store, but I’ll share a few photos/screenshots of the kinds of things we covered in each unit down below.

Update:  When we did our latest unit on the Atmosphere, I made a new activity on Earth’s major systems.  In that activity I included the magnetosphere (and we went on to do a unit on Earth’s Magnetosphere as well!) You can see this introduction to Earth’s Systems (Interactive Notebook Activity) here (included in our Atmosphere Packet):

Earth Systems - Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere Notebook Activity - Earth System Lapbook Pieces

Note: Our full units below are 50 to 150 pages each.  Prices vary; be sure to check out the bundle options as well.  See Our Store for more details. Our packets are pdf downloads.


When I made the Earth Systems pages above, we were using them as an intro before we started our Biology Unit on the Biosphere.  We spent some time reviewing some of the material we had already covered.

Visit Our Store to see more details about our units – or continue scrolling below!

Earth's Major Systems - Atmosphere Geosphere Hydrosphere Biosphere

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 Unit (175+ pages) – Quick Preview

Earth Science Unit

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:

Layers of the Atmosphere Unit (50+ pages) – Quick Preview

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).

Biology Unit: Biomes, habitats, ecosystem, biological interactions, feeding relationships (70 pages) Quick Preview

Biology Unit - biomes biological interactionssymbiosis commensalism mutualism worksheets and activitiesFood Chain Food Web Food Pyramid Activties - Interactive Notebook Pages

Bundle: Ocean Unit – Layers of the Ocean/Ocean Zone Ocean Packet – Quick Preview Ocean Unit Middle SchoolMarine Habitats WorksheetsBioluminescence-Worksheets

You might be interested in the new 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 Pieces

Weather Unit: Clouds, Winds & Weather

Last spring, we went over clouds, winds, fronts and more in our Weather Unit.

Clouds Winds Weather Worksheets - Packet

Weather Worksheets - Global winds, jet stream, high and low pressure systems

More recently, 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

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *