In the style of NGSS, this activity has students create a model to explain how volcanoes temporarily impact climate change, or how stratospheric ozone depletion occurs and impacts life on Earth. Students must provide information about the layers of the atmosphere and provide reliable data in their model to help create an answer for their “focus” task. I have included an NGSS-style 30 point rubric for grading.
I love this activity because it REALLY forces students to learn the layers of the atmosphere and why they’re important—not just spit them back at you in mindless rote memorization. Students will learn the information much more deeply this way, and the ones who usually struggle on tests might really surprise you with what they can do!
This task is broken down into manageable chunks. It guides students through understanding the components of the task, followed by conducting research. Students will probably feel overwhelmed at first, but once they get their research done, the model tends to fall into place. Students may need reminders that models do NOT have to be 3D if this is their first time doing this. The most common form of modeling for this task, but I have also had students do a slideshow presentation.
I assess my students by “conferencing” with them. When they are ready, they bring their model up to me and explain all the parts. If they are missing parts, I ask questions to get the answers out, or sometimes, to help lead them to the answer if they are clueless. Students will learn VERY quickly that a task like this really requires them to know their stuff—they can’t just skate by on minimal knowledge or memorization and hope to ace it.
If students work in a group, I randomly ask students in the group questions about the model. I stress that everyone needs to understand the information EQUALLY, and if they don’t, the group grade will suffer. No moochers!
I honestly think you will be impressed by what your students can do!
If you purchase this, you will get a Word document with these instructions, plus a link to this activity as a Google Doc . I have it formatted for Google Classroom, but you can easily convert it to a pdf, Word Doc, or simply print it out and have students write on it physically. If you print it out as a physical worksheet, you will want to supply your students with the research links somehow. Check out the preview for more info!