Interactive Models

Explore Earth's Energy Budget Diagram


In this interactive, students will identify and describe the different components and flows of energy of the Earth's Energy Budget diagram as well as the imbalances that exist in Earth's Energy Budget.

This interactive model is one of a three-part sequence of learning experiences related to Earth's Energy Budget. To maximize optimal learning outcomes, it is suggested to complete the series in the following order:

  1. How Do We Receive Energy From the Sun? Interactive Model
  2. Explore Earth's Energy Budget Diagram Interactive Model (Current Page)
  3. The Role of Earth's Features in Earth's Energy Budget Interactive Model

This story map is intended to be used with students who have access to a computing device in a 1:1 or 1:2 setting.

Explore Earth's Energy Budget Diagram Image - credit: NASA

Materials Required

Resources Needed Per Student:


  1. Using an internet accessible device, students open the link to the Explore Earth's Energy Budget Diagram Interactive Model to begin their exploration of this phenomenon.
  2. Distribute the Explore Earth's Energy Budget Diagram Interactive Model Student Sheet (optional). Have students navigate on their own through the interactive model to answer the questions and complete the activities on their student sheet.

Explore Earth's Energy Budget Diagram Image - credit: NASA

Click Here

Teacher Note

Earth strives to maintain a balance between the overall amount of incoming and outgoing energy at the top of the atmosphere. This is called Earth’s energy budget or Earth's radiation budget. Earth receives incoming energy from the Sun. Earth also emits energy back to space. For Earth’s temperature to be stable over long periods of time (for the energy budget to be in balance), the amount incoming energy and outgoing energy must be equal. If incoming energy is more than outgoing energy, Earth will warm. If outgoing energy is greater than incoming energy, Earth will cool.

To learn more, visit:

Virtual Teachers:  Make a copy of the Google Forms LogoGoogle Form of your choice so that you may assign it directly from your Google Drive into your Learning Management System (e.g., Google Classroom, Canvas, Schoology, etc.).  Do you need help incorporating these Google Forms into your Learning Management System?  If so, read this google doc logo Guide to Using Google Forms with My NASA Data.

Teachers who are interested in receiving the answer key, please complete the Teacher Key Request and Verification Form. We verify that requestors are teachers prior to sending access to the answer keys as we’ve had many students try to pass as teachers to gain access.

  • Describe the different components and flows of energy of the Earth's Energy Budget diagram. 
  • Identify imbalances in Earth's Energy Budget. 
  • Differentiate between reflection and absorption. 
  1. How does energy flow into and out of the Earth System?
  2. Why is Earth's Energy Budget out of balance?

National Geography Standards:

  • How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
  • Internet Required
  • One-to-a-Group

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