Earth System Energy Travels (Student Activity)
Students will analyze a pie chart (circle graph) showing the distribution of different parts of the Earth system the in absorption and reflection of energy.
This lesson is designed to help students identify where incoming solar energy goes once it enters the Earth system by analyzing a pie chart to assess relative distribution.
Once the Sun’s energy enters into the Earth System, it travels among the spheres. This pie chart (circle graph) represents all the energy coming from the Sun and where it travels along its path.
Analyze the pie chart and answer the questions below.
- What can happen to the energy as it travels through the Earth system?
- Where does the largest percentage of energy go in the Earth system?
- What kinds of ways is the energy used once it enters the Earth system (i.e., Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere, etc.)?
- What is the role of the atmosphere (including clouds) as it relates to Earth’s energy?
Teachers, these mini-lessons/student activities are perfect "warm-up" tasks that can be used as a hook, bellringer, exit slip, etc.
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Supported NGSS Performance Expectations
- 5-ESS2-1: Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
- MS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
- MS-PS4-2: Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
- HS-ESS2-2: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
- HS-ESS2-4: Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
Supported Common Core Math
- CC.6.RP.3c Find a percent of a quantity as a rate per 100 (e.g., 30% of a quantity means 30/100 times the quantity); solve problems involving finding the whole given a part and the percent.
- CC.7.RP.2 Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.