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Earth’s Atmosphere. Guiding Question #4. Warm-up 12/3/13. In your science notebook, list 3 facts you know about the Earth’s atmosphere. A Peak at the Earth’s Past Atmosphere. In the Red Science Textbook, READ pages 172-173

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Earth’s Atmosphere

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Earth’s Atmosphere

Guiding Question #4


In your science notebook, list 3 facts you know about the Earth’s atmosphere.

A Peak at the Earth’s Past Atmosphere

  • In the Red Science Textbook, READ

    pages 172-173

  • Glue the questions in your science notebook, and ANSWER them using the information you gathered from your reading.

Question #1

  • Lots of volcanic eruptions

  • Violent storms

  • Meteorite impacts

  • Intense radiation from the sun

Question #2

Earth’s early atmosphere was made of-

  • Water vapor

  • Carbon dioxide

  • Nitrogen

  • Sulfur dioxide

    Early life on Earth consisted of simple-one celled organisms called PROKARYOTES, that did not need oxygen to survive

Question #3

  • Cyanobacteria began using sunlight to make their own food.

  • This food making process released oxygen into the ocean and air.

Question #4

  • Oxygen was present in the air and water

  • The ozone layer of the atmosphere formed blocking the amount of harmful radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.

    …as a result complex one-celled organisms formed, called EUKARYOTES, followed bymulticellular organisms

Analyzing Changes in the Earth’s Atmosphere


  • Glue the handout in your science notebook.

  • Use the graphs to answer the questions, providing detailed, complete answers.

Earth’s Pre- life Atmosphere

Data Analysis of Pre-life atmosphere

  • Carbon Dioxide is the most abundant gas

  • There is more nitrogen than sulfur dioxide

  • 2% of the pre life atmosphere was other than CO2, N, SO2

  • CO2 made up 90% of atmosphere

  • N made up 5% of atmosphere

  • SO2 made up 3% of atmosphere

  • There is 9 times as much CO2 as other gases combined.

Earth’s Present Day Atmosphere

Data Analysis of present atmosphere

  • Nitrogen makes up 78% of today’s atmosphere

  • Oxygen makes up 21% of today’s atmosphere

  • Carbon Dioxide and other gases make up 1%

  • Nitrogen is the most abundant gas in today’s atmosphere

  • Oxygen is the second most abundant gas

  • Only a small percentage of atmosphere is CO2

  • There is more than 3x the amount of nitrogen compared to oxygen.

Pre-Life Present Day

Comparison of atmosphere

  • There is 89% less CO2 today than in pre life.

  • There is 21% more oxygen today than in pre life.

  • The amount of nitrogen has increased by 73% in today’s atmosphere compared to pre-life

  • Nitrogen was one of the least abundant gases in pre- life, now it is the most abundant.

  • There is very little SO2 in present day atmosphere.


Now that you know how Earth’s Atmosphere has changed from Pre-Cambrian time to the our present day atmosphere, reflect on the following…

Do you think our present day atmosphere will change in the future? Explain. Support with evidence.

Brain Pop: Earth’s Atmosphere and the Ozone Layer

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