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Atmosphere  Activities for Middle School Science

The resources below will provide students a comprehensive understanding of the atmosphere. All of the following lessons are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

The Atmosphere 5E Lesson includes materials for every "E" phase, including the Atmosphere Station Lab for Exploration and an interactive PowerPoint with digital INB templates for Explanation. 

The lesson also includes introduction materials for Engagement, student-choice project ideas for Elaboration, and assessments for Evaluation.

After completing the Atmosphere 5E Lesson, students will be able to compare and contrast the layers of the Earth's atmosphere (troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere), identify the composition of the atmosphere, and identify types of clouds in the troposphere.

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The Atmosphere Inquiry Lab is a hands-on activity that is differentiated for advanced, on-level, and modified middle school students.

Students will explore how characteristics of the atmosphere change as altitude increases. Students will analyze temperature changes and density of air molecules.

The Atmosphere Inquiry Lab includes a brief reading passage, comprehension checks, hands-on activities, reflection questions, and a CER conclusion.

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Atmosphere Classroom Experiences

Create a powerful student experience to help solidify students' understanding about the atmosphere. All of the following experiences are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Escape Rooms

Atmosphere Classroom Experiences

Create a powerful student experience to help solidify students' understanding about the atmosphere. All of the following experiences are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.


The Project, Lunar Base - Design a Lunar Colony STEM Challenge uses the engineering design process to move forward with constructing a lunar base to test long-term survival outside of Earth's atmosphere. 4 astronauts will need to live in the lunar residence for 2 years.

Students will be using collaborative skills such as brainstorming with their peers and reflecting on their progress during the project.

At the end of the Project, Lunar Base - Design a Lunar Colony, STEM challenge, students are given an opportunity to share their projects outside of the classroom.

Explories - A Complete NGSS Storyline

Explories are NGSS units that integrate a storyline and project-based learning with Kesler Science Inquiry Labs, Station Labs, and 5E Lessons. The Explories unit below is also included in the Kesler Science Membership .


DARK: An NGSS Unit Study of the Sky

Welcome to DARK. This is an NGSS unit that integrates a storyline and projects with existing Kesler Science inquiry labs, station labs, and 5E Lessons. In this unit, students will join and assist the fictitious Amateur Astronomers’ Conservation Society, exploring the relationships between the Sun, Moon, and Earth, and evaluating changes that will affect our future atmosphere.

"Think about the sky for a moment.  Do you picture a clear blue day with white puffy clouds?  Or a nighttime view full of sparkling stars?  Have you ever really thought about the importance of our sky?

You're in luck!  You've been given a chance to 'expand your horizons.'  Your class has been invited to join the Amateur Astronomers’ Conservation Society.

To complete your membership, you will first complete a specialized model of the Sun, Earth, and Moon’s relationship in space.  Then, once you are a full member, you will help other members of the society investigate eclipses, reduce nighttime light pollution, and study the effects of atmospheric changes on our environment.  

You're about to experience the sky in a whole new way.  

Don’t be afraid of the DARK!"

Year-Round Resources

These year-round activities will increase your students' understanding of many middle school science topics. All of these activities are also included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Visual Data & Graphing

You're not alone if your students struggle with understanding graphs, charts, and tables. It's a skill that takes an enormous amount of practice. This resource will help students build a strong foundation in analyzing data and creating their own data visualizations.

Bell Ringers and Warm-Ups

These middle school science bell ringers are an excellent way to engage your students as soon as they walk into your classroom. This comprehensive FULL YEAR resource includes everything you need to start off each science class with an interesting warm-up activity.

Review Board Games

Each game board has been carefully designed to keep students engaged. There are 10 different action spaces on each board and dozens of question cards. All of the actions are related to science concepts and keep the students motivated throughout the game.

Each game is ready to play. Simply print out the board and the cards and let the students enjoy reviewing nine different units.

Essential Questions and Standards

Below are the essential questions and standards associated with the lessons and activities included in the atmosphere unit. This topic is only one of more than 100 middle school science topics included in the Kesler Science Membership.

Essential Questions
  • What is the composition of the Earth's atmosphere?
  • What are the layers of the Earth's atmosphere?
  • MS ESS2-5 - Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions
  • TEKS Science 7.9 A - Analyze the characteristics of objects in our solar system that allow life to exist such as the proximity of the Sun, presence of water, and composition of the atmosphere

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Kesler Science Membership

Imagine never having to search for another middle school science lesson again. The membership gives you access to ALL of the Kesler Science products in one place (Yes, including everything above).

Say goodbye to long hours of lesson prep.