Earth under the lid – Understanding the greenhouse effect

Brief description

In this set of two activities, pupils will learn about our atmosphere and the greenhouse gases that it consists what allow the Earth to be a habitable planet. Without them, life as we know it would not exist. Unfortunately, however, the increase in human-produced
greenhouse gases is altering the “normal” quantity of these gases in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Pupils will build a model to understand what the greenhouse effect is and analyse a video to discuss the consequences of an increasing amount of greenhouse gases

Subject Geography, Science

Learning Objectives
• Learn about the greenhouse effect and greenhouse gases
• Get to know the positive and negative consequences of the greenhouse effect
• Learn that without the greenhouse effect there would not be life as we know it on Earth
• Understand that the human-induced increase in the greenhouse effect is causing global warming

• To perform temperature measurements

Age range
8 – 10 years old
approximately 40 minutes per activity
Resource available in:
Activity 1: Why do we need the greenhouse effect on Earth?

In this activity, students will do an experiment that demonstrates the basics of the greenhouse effect. They will understand how the greenhouse effect works and what effect it has on the temperatures on Earth. They will answer the question “Why do we need the greenhouse effect on Earth?” Students should conclude that it makes life on Earth possible.
Equipment (per group)

• 2 transparent jars
• Soil
• Water
• A teaspoon
• 2 thermometers
• Clingfilm
• Rubber bands
• Sticky tape
• If not sunny: lamp that radiates heat

Activity 2: How do human activities affect greenhouse effect?

In this activity, students see the Paxi video by ESA Education about the greenhouse effect. They will sort images taken from the video according to their appearance in the video. The video serves as an introduction to discuss how human activities are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases on Earth’s atmosphere and its consequences.

• Laptop/other device to play video
• Projector
• Worksheet
• Scissors
• Glue

Did you know?

ESA started the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) to understand how and why the climate is changing. The scientists work together with experts from all over Europe to analyse satellite images and measurements taken on Earth. The CCI Greenhouse Gases team is analysing measurements covering the years since 2002. With this information, scientists can better monitor the greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere.

Satellites observe the Earth

Satellites observe the Earth using a range of wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum. Discover how we can build a more complete picture of Earth’s climate by sampling the electromagnetic spectrum at multiple wavelengths.

Astro farmer

Brief description:In this set of six activities, students will investigate which factors affect plant growth, and relate these factors to...

The spatial resolution

The observation of our planet with the help of satellites largely depends on the different characteristics of their sensors. The spatial resolution, that is explained in this video, is one of these characteristics. Video by...

The spectral resolution

Earth observation satellites are guardians of our planet. Thanks to remote sensing technology and daily data collection, researchers are able to better monitor our planet’s oceans and rising sea levels from space. ESA senior advisor...