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Through guided inquiry, students will identify interactions of the four major scientific spheres on Earth: biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere. They will then identify how these systems are represented and interact in their classroom aquarium.

This lesson introduces the Earth system science spheres through model making and discussion. Students will work within an Earth system science notebook to chronicle their work and learning.

Through guided inquiry, students will identify interactions of the four major scientific spheres on Earth: biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and geosphere. They will then identify how these systems are represented and interact in their classroom aquarium.

In this lesson, students will conduct labs investigate the drivers of climate change, including adding carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, sea level rise, and the effect of decreasing sea ice on temperatures.

Students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle to gain an understanding of the varied pathways through the cycle and the relevance of nitrogen to living things. 

This activity invites students to simulate and observe the different effects on sea level from melting sea-ice.
 

Credit: Modified from POLAR-PALOOZA (National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0632262) and the Office of Science, Department of Energy.

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