Greenhouse Gases: Explore I

Build on learners’ understanding of states of matter and properties of materials to develop a simple understanding of what greenhouse gases are, how they are made and how they contribute to the conditions for life as we know it. Through this session learners should explore what the atmosphere is and the changing gases within it. 

This is recommended as session two of the Key Stage Two Greenhouse Gases Unit, exploring the importance of the greenhouse effect. 


< 30 minutes


Curriculum Links 


Properties and changes of materials

  • Explain that some changes result in the formation of new materials, and that this kind of change is not usually reversible, including changes associated with burning.

Step by step

Quick Starter Activity

Introduce the greenhouse effect using this simple 2-minute video made by NASA Space Place:

Preview image for the video "What Is the Greenhouse Effect?".

This video made by The Science Museum can also be used as an extra challenge:  

Preview image for the video "What are Greenhouse Gases?".

Main Activity Suggestions

Suggestion 1 (Indoor)

Climate Kids NASA: Meet the Greenhouse Gases! These cards can be used to support learners to understand what greenhouse gases are and how they trap heat.

Suggestion 2 (Indoor)

PhET Simulations: Greenhouse Effect Simulation. Use this simulation and supporting worksheet to explore variables that affect how much heat is trapped by Earth's atmosphere.

Suggestion 3 (Indoor)

Royal Society: Climate Change Q&A. What do you want to know about climate change? This set of question and answer resources can be used to introduce how greenhouse gases contribute to climate change. 

Top Tips

To challenge thinking, why not use the climate change Q&A posters from Suggestion 3 above, displaying big questions around climate change. They may provoke more questions than answers.