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Lesson Plan: Earth’s Major Systems

Lesson Plan: Earth’s Major Systems

Subject:  Science

Grade: 5

Lesson Objective: To understand and demonstrate how Earth’s major systems interact with each other

Next Gen Science Standard:  5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.


  • Clay
  • Paper
  • Makers  



  • What is the Earth made up of?  (Allow the students to answer.)



  • The Earth is made up of rock, soil, water and air.  There are four different systems that make up Earth.
  • They are called the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
  • The geosphere is solid and molten rock, soil and sediment.  These make up the core, mantle and crust of Earth.
  • The hydrosphere is water and ice.  This includes all of the oceans and troposphere.  97% of water is found in salty oceans and the rest is vapor or droplets in the atmosphere or liquid in lakes, rivers or glaciers.
  • The atmosphere is air.  The atmosphere is divided into different layers.
  • The biosphere is living things, including humans.  The biosphere is made up of different life zones or biomes.
  • These systems interact with each other and the way that they interact affect Earth.
  • The hydrosphere and the geosphere interact in many different ways.  One of the major ways that they interact is that the hydrosphere causes erosion by running water and precipitation.  The hydrosphere provides precipitation to the vegetation growing on the geosphere.   Can you think of anything else?  (Allow the students to answer.)
  • The atmosphere and the geosphere also interact in many different ways.  The main way is that the atmosphere keeps the sun’s radiation in, which keeps Earth warm. Can you think of anything else?  (Allow the students to answer.)
  • Now, you are going to design a model that shows how either the hydrosphere and geosphere interact or how the atmosphere or geosphere interact.  I have clay and paper and makers for you to use.  You will explain your model to all of us when you are done.
  • Does anyone have any questions?



  • Who would like to share and explain your model?  (Allow the students to share.)

Written by Kimberly Greacen, Education World® Contributing Writer

Kimberly is an educator with extensive experience in curriculum writing and developing instructional materials to align with Common Core State Standards and Bloom's Taxonomy.

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