Earth and Atmospheric Science: Explore

In this session students can use a guided simulation or interactive presentation to understand how the greenhouse effect results from the interaction of radiation with matter, and how the greenhouse effect has resulted in changing climate over time. Choose an activity that enables learners to analyse data and evidence for changes in temperature and climate, that put current global warming into context.

This is recommended as session two of the Key Stage Four Earth and Atmospheric Science Unit, exploring new knowledge.

Royal Meteorological Society climate change content quality mark

< 30 minutes


Green Skills

  • Interpreting data

Curriculum Links


Earth and atmospheric science: 

  • Evidence for composition and evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere since its formation.
  • Evidence, and uncertainties in evidence, for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change.
  • Potential effects and mitigation of increased levels of carbon dioxide and methane on the Earth’s climate.

Working Scientifically Skills

  • Extract and interpret information from charts, graphs and tables, present reasoned explanations including relating data to hypotheses.

Step by step

Quick Starter Activity

Climate Stripes

Begin by sharing this 5-minute video from the University of Reading of Professor Ed Hawkins MBE:

Preview image for the video "How is climate change affecting our planet?".

Ask learners to work together in pairs to summarise the role of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, how they contribute to the greenhouse effect and their impact on the Earth’s temperature.

Main Activity Suggestions

Suggestion 1 (Indoor) 

PhET University of Colorado: Greenhouse Effect Simulation Students explore the physical factors that influence Earth's climate, using a guided simulation lab of how greenhouse gases effect the Earth's temperature.

Suggestion 2 (Indoor) 

BioInteractive. Paleoclimate: A History of Change. Students explore the history of Earth's climate to shed light on the causes, implications, and severity of current climate change, through interactive webpages.

Top Tips

The Royal Meteorological Society has curated a list of climate change model resources which can support this age range.