Lesson Plans

Earth: A System of Systems


The Earth is a system of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent parts that work together to form a complex planet; it is made up of five major parts or subsystems: Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, Cryosphere, and Geosphere which are connected to each other in a complex web of processes.

  • Atmosphere  - the thin layer made up of a mixture of gases and particles suspended in the air that surround the Earth (predominantly N2, O2, Ar, CO2, and H2O); also serves as the outer boundary of the Earth System
  • Hydrosphere - includes the liquid ocean, inland water bodies, and groundwater
  • Cryosphere - a subset of the Hydrosphere and consists of frozen water
  • Geosphere - includes the solid Earth; the core, mantle, crust, and soil layers
  • Biosphere - Includes all of Earth’s organisms and matter that has not yet decomposed, including humans

My NASA Data provides you with a variety of resources, helping you to uncover this concept with your students.

Lesson Plans: