Jack Hudson, Amy Pace
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Middle School
Earth Science
Creative Commons Attribution

The 4 spheres: Different parts of Earth


The student wil read the material, then take a quiz with questions from the material.

The 4 spheres: Different parts of Earth

The student will go over the material below, and after they have understood it, will take a quiz on it in the next task. 

There are 4 primary spheres, or in other words "systems" on Earth. This includes: The atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere. Or in other words, living things, land, air, and water. The first is the Biosphere. It includes all that is living. This includes plants, animals, and humans. Within the Biosphere, there are biomes created. These biomes are different based on their location. For example, a drier place that doesn't get a lot of water might have less plants and animals, and the animals there would have adapted to those harsh conditions with limited water. This biome that was just described is called a desert. It is just one of many biomes that exist.  The next sphere is the Hydrosphere. It includes all forms of water, not just liquid water. This means that the hydrosphere can range from icebergs to streams.  A small amount of the hydrosphere is fresh, and comes from either the atmosphere, or from under the ground, as groundwater. However, a large portion of that is frozen. About 97% of Earth's water is salty, and located in deep valleys known as oceans. The temperature of the water can determine its state. For example, with extremely cold temperatures, water in the form of ice will be common. With extremely hot water, it can turn gaseous. So the liquid form of water is slightly in the middle. It's not too hot and not too cold.

Next up is the atmosphere. This includes all air. The atmosphere ranges from less than a kilometer below the surface of Earth to more than 10,000 kilometers above the surface. One of the upper parts of the atmosphere has the ability to protect organisms living on Earth's surface from radiation. It also traps heat. When air changes, different patterns of weather can occur. When heated or cooled in the lower portion of the atmosphere, it is moved around the Earth. The final sphere we are going to talk about is called the geosphere(or lithosphere).It contains all of the land located on (or in) Earth. It also contains all of the different forms of land, such as semi solid, solid, and liquid land. The surface is not flat at all. In fact, it is pretty uneven.

The solid, semi-solid, and liquid land of the lithosphere form layers that are physically and chemically different. The outermost layer of the lithosphere consists of loose soil rich in nutrients, oxygen, and silicon. Beneath that layer lies a very thin, solid crust of oxygen and silicon. Next is a thick, semi-solid mantle of oxygen, silicon, iron, and magnesium. Below that is a liquid outer core of nickel and iron. At the center of Earth is a solid inner core of nickel and iron. 

The 4 spheres: Different parts of Earth

The students will then take a quiz on the material.

1. What form does liquid appear in? A: Liquid B: Gaseous C: Solid D: All of the above

2. What two elements does the the outermost layer of the lithosphere contain? A: Oxygen and Silicon. B: Silicon and Nickel. C: Sodium and Hydrogen D: Oxygen and Silicon

3. How much of the Earth's water is salty? A: 90% B: 97% C: 95% D: 80%

4. At Earth's core, what elements are there? A: Nickel and Hydrogen B: Hydrogen and Oxygen C: Nickel and Iron D: Nickel and Copper

5. How high above Earth's surface is the atmosphere located? A: 8,000 kilometers B: 9,500 kilometers C: 10,000 kilometers D: 10,100 kilometers