Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Learning about the atmosphere

We have been working on our new science unit meteorology and weather.  First I wanted the children to better understand the layers of the atmosphere.  So we created a poster that identify the different layers and what can be found in each layer.

Kids identified the different layers of the atmosphere

I found some clip art that we used to identify what things could be found in the different layers of the atmosphere

Then we discussed the gases found in the atmosphere and how it dissipates the higher up in the atmosphere

We looked at how air expands as it raises--we did this by gently blowing bubbles into a glass of oil, the bubbles start small and then as the bubbles rises to the top it becomes bigger until it burst.  (It was very hard to get a picture of that)

Next we did a simple exercise filling up a pie plate with water then coloring it with food color, we added a candle and lite it.  Then we  cover the candle with a mason jar (or glass) and watch what happens to the water when the flamed used up all the oxygen.  
 We made 3 different types of barometers to measure air pressure...I found all of these on the internet
First one we made was using a jar and filling it up with colored water and then putting a long bottle neck bottle
inside it.  Tape around the edges to keep the two bottles steady---we didn't see any results with this inside the house but the next morning we took it outside and were amazed to see the water rising up
We set it outside and watched the water raise with the cold air!  Then we brought the bottle back inside  and watch the water reside back into the lower bottle.

We made a barrometer by stretching a ballon over a glass jar and measured the air pressure outside with great results.  The pencil marks are were the straw was before being placed outside and then were it lies after being outside in the cold for only 15 minutes.  You can really see the depression in the top part of the balloon.

The next barometer we made was similar above but this time a partially blown up ballon was placed inside a jar and the ballon was taped over the edge of the jar.  

This was not nearly as successful as the others but it still worked

The last activity we tried was taking a water bottle and filling it  with about 1/4 cups of boiling water, replacing the lid and then setting it in a bowl of water.  Within seconds the kids saw the bottle clasping.

The next morning we woke up to snow and decided to do the same experiment but use the cold  air and see if the results were the same.  As you can see here the results were even better:)

Another experiment we did simply because we had unexpected snowfall in March was measuring snow and noting how much water it produces once it all melts.

We filled up a Measuring cup this one is just over 1 and half cups

Then watched the snow melt

And the kids were surprised to see that the snow only produced  about 1/4 cup of  water!

We had fun learning about the layers of the atmosphere and air pressure and we are now moving on the learning about clouds:)


  1. This is SO cool! I especially like the drawing of the atmosphere. Thanks for sharing your great ideas.

  2. Wow! What a lot of fun experiments! That is weird that the snow melted so much, I had no idea.

  3. great ideas here! We just finished a unit on weather, wish I saw this 2 weeks ago :)

  4. How ironic that we both did similar activities and posts on the atmosphere.