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Layers of the Atmosphere

The Layers of the Atmosphere MatchCard allows kids to learn the different levels of the earth's atmosphere

Atmosphere Worksheet

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The Earths Atmosphere

Objective: Identify the layers of the earth's atmosphere: exosphere, thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere, and troposphere.

This MatchCard will identify the five layers, provide a memory aid, provide a review MatchCard, describe an experiment to visualize the atmospheric effect of temperature and pressure changes, and suggest a hands on project.

Print the Atmosphere MatchCard

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This is MatchCard #9 of the Weather Unit Study. Directions for using MatchCards are below.

Let's Compare the Layers of the Atmosphere

There are five layers of the earths atmosphere.


The troposphere is the first six miles of the atmosphere around the earth.

75% of the earth's mass is in the troposphere.

With increased elevation, there is a decrease in air pressure and temperature.


The stratosphere is the next layer above the troposphere.

The ozone layer is contained within the stratosphere.

The stratosphere is 20 miles high (above the six miles of troposphere.)


The mesosphere is the next layer above the stratosphere.

It is the coldest layer of the earth's atmosphere.

The stratosphere is 20 miles high (the same depth as the stratosphere.)


The stratosphere is the next layer above the mesosphere.

It is the hottest layer of the atmosphere.

The stratosphere is 350 miles high.


The exosphere is the layer furthest from the earth's surface.

The air is extremely thin as molecules are far apart.

The exosphere is 40,000 miles from its beginning to its end.

Let's Experiment

Here is a simple experiment to demonstrate the relationship between atmospheric temperature and pressure.

  • Get an empty plastic milk jug that has been washed out. You will need its lid.
  • Pour hot water into the jug so it is half full. Adult supervision is needed.
  • Observe what happens to the jug in the next 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Now, put the jug either in the refridgerator or a larger pan of ice water.
Remember to write a description of your experiment for your science notebook.

Explanation Please:
When you put the hot water into the jug and sealed it, you caused the air above the water to become warmer.
Warm air expands. Therefore the jug expanded.
When you cooled the air, the molecules became closer together. This caused the jug to collapse.

Make A Poster

Have the students make a poster of the layers of the atmosphere.

They may use any artistic media. Other information they find about the earth's atmosphere should also be included.

Encourage them to include a bibliography.

Memory Aid

The names of the different layers are easy to remember - and then forget. I have found this mnemonic helpful:

Exact Thermometers Measure Strategic Tropics

They will be able to rattle off those layers effortlessly!

MatchCard Science

How To Use MatchCards

MatchCard Science Cover

MatchCards make science concepts and corresponding vocabulary interactive. As students move the information pieces on the MatchCards they review the material they have already learned.

Download the FREE MatchCard Science Instructor's Guide and see how MatchCards can make building their science knowledge base fun.

Weather Unit Study

Weather Unit Study Cover

From gentle breezes to hurricanes and tornadoes, changing atmospheric conditions impact our day to day life. Turn your students into junior meteorologists with our Weather Unit Study.

Nine different weather lessons can be presented in this 4 week study.

Download the entire Weather Unit Study.

12 Science Unit Studies

MatchCard Science Cover

Chemistry is only one of twelve complete unit studies for kids in 3rd to 8th grade.

Comprehensive objectives, hands-on projects, suggested science fair experiments, and the fun game-like MatchCards keep them interested in learning science. See all twelve MatchCard Science Unit Studies.

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