Is ozone good or bad? -The discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole

Brief description

In this set of three activities, students will learn about ozone and the impacts – good and bad – it has on life on Earth. The first activity gives an overview of these effects, outlines how ozone is measured and introduces the story of the Antarctic ozone hole. There is a practical activity investigating the effectiveness of sunscreen. In the final activity, students use real satellite data to explore how ozone concentration has varied across the world over the last couple of decades.

Subject Geography, Science, Earth Science

Learning Objectives
  • Summarise the effects of ozone in different parts of the atmosphere on life on Earth
  • Outline the story of the Antarctic ozone hole, including the role of satellite observations in monitoring its recovery
  • Relate the parts of an experimental model to the real-life situation it represents
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of an experimental method
  • Carry out a practical activity following instructions and recording results systematically
  • Use the Climate from Space web application to explore changes to global ozone concentrations
  • Select key information from a range of sources to present a concise summary of independent research
Age range
8 – 11 years old
Time
approximately 60 minutes per activity
Resource available in:
Activity 1: Why does ozone matter?
In this activity, pupils will get to know ozone as an invisible gas that protects life on Earth if it is high in the sky but harms people’s health once it is close to the surface. A story read by the teacher will introduce these information. The story outlines also the ozone hole of the Antarctic and the role of satellite observations in monitoring its recovery. Confident readers may be able to read the story themselves, perhaps in preparation for the lesson. In the classroom, teachers can use material from the related Climate from Space story to supplement the text.
Activity 2: How good is my sunscreen?
In this activity, pupils will make their own observations by examine the protection sunscreen offers against harmful ultraviolet radiation in an experiment. In the practical activity UV-sensitive beads are used to investigate the protective effect of various types of sunscreen. Students learn to relate parts of an experimental model to the real-life situation it represents and evaluate the effectiveness of an experimental method

 

Equipment
  • 5-6 UV-sensitive beads per group, preferably purple or dark pink (the same colour inside a group)
  • Petri dish or another flat open container per group
  • UV torch (optional for each group)
  • Coloured pencils (same colour as beads), one for each student
  • A selection of sunscreens with different protection factors 
  • Beakers of water – one per group
  • Sharpie or another fine permanent marker
  • String and sticky labels (optional)
  • Towels
  • A copy of Student worksheet 2 (2 pages) for each student
Activity 3: The ozone hole
In this activity, pupils will use the Climate from Space web application to explore satellite measurements of ozone across the globe over time and examine changes in the Antarctic ozone hole over the past two decades. Students will select key information from a range of sources to present a concise summary of independent research. 
Equipment
  • Internet access
  • Climate from Space web application
  • Student worksheet 3
  • Information sheet 3 in colour (can be one per pair of students)
  • Presentation software such as PowerPoint

Did you know?

• Ground-level ozone is the principal component of smog, which is created from chemical reactions of pollutants with gases in the air.


• In 1920, Gordon Dobson, a researcher from the University of Oxford, was the first to build an instrument to measure ozone concentration from the ground.


• Many Earth observation satellites are in such orbits that they cannot take measurements directly above the North or South Pole – although they can ‘see’ everywhere else on Earth change.

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