Meet the Greenhouse Gases

These greenhouse gas cards made by NASA can be used as a source of information for learners and a fun stimulus for discussion about human influence on the atmosphere, to begin to introduce ideas related to climate change.

Royal Meteorological Society climate change content quality mark

< 30 minutes


Download the greenhouse gas cards below.


  • Indoors

Curriculum links

  • Science

Step by step

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are gases in Earth’s atmosphere that trap heat. They let sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but they prevent the heat that the sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere. The main greenhouse gases are:

  • Water vapour
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Ozone
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Chlorofluorocarbons

Suggested outline

Begin by explaining that greenhouse gases can trap energy from Earth.

Ask the learners why they think they are called greenhouse gases.  

Highlight that overall, greenhouse gases are important, ensuring our planet is not too cold for life to exist, but that an increased concentration of these gases is the main cause of global warming and climate change.  

Learners can then answer the following questions using their set of cards:  

  • How many human activities can you think of that produce these gases? 
  • Which greenhouse gases are not produced naturally?  
  • What could people do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions?