Greenhouse Gases

Students will be introduced to the major sources of greenhouse gases. Students will understand that greenhouse gases are produced by both natural and anthropogenic (man-made) sources.

1. Inform students they will learn about the sources of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

2. Distribute the Greenhouse Gases Exploration Sheet to each of the students.

3. Ask students to go to the Student Resources Web page and click the Greenhouse Gases link.

4. Instruct students to read the content pages about greenhouse gases and answer the questions on their exploration sheets. Explain and clarify terminology and concepts as needed.

Implementation Suggestion: 
- Many students often confuse the role of ozone in the stratosphere and ozone in the troposphere. Display the Atmospheric Ozone image from the students' Web page to the front of the class. Emphasize to students that in the troposphere the ozone is considered "bad ozone" since it is a pollutant near ground level and has harmful effects to plants and animals. Ozone in the stratosphere is beneficial. It blocks harmful ultraviolet rays coming from the Sun, protecting life on Earth. Without the ozone layer in the stratosphere, more of the Sun's UV light would penetrate the atmosphere and would reach the Earth's surface.

5. Review content and discuss aloud student responses to key questions on their exploration sheets. Ask students if they have any questions about concepts covered in the lesson and respond to their questions. Have students close their Web browser when they finish.

Materials Needed:


Greenhouse Gases Exploration Sheet (PDF / MS Word)

Assessment Information

Greenhouse Gases Assessment (PDF / MS Word)

Supplemental Homework Readings for Students

Greenhouse Gases and Human Activity (PDF)

Teacher Resources/Content Support

Planetary Energy Balance

Planetary Energy Balance - Print Version (PDF)

Earth System

Earth System - Print Version (PDF)