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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


Structure of the Atmosphere

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  • This interactive animation explains the composition, density, and temperature of the different regions of the atmosphere. 
  • By moving an animated weather balloon, students can explore each region in more detail. 
Teaching Tips


  • This animated website is interactive and self-paced, which allows students to discover information about the atmosphere by themselves.
  • The animation provides text and visuals to support learning. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • The interactive media introduces students to vocabulary they may not yet be familiar with, including the regions of the atmosphere: the Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, and Thermosphere.
  • The explanations provided can sometimes be complex and may require some extra instruction. For example, teachers may need to spend more time discussing why the temperature changes as you move up or down in the atmosphere. 


  • This resource can be used by students in science classes learning about the Earth's atmosphere as part of an investigation of Earth's systems.
  • Teachers can connect this resource to climate change by discussing how increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases can impact the temperature, density, and other features of the atmosphere.
  • To aid students when using this resource, consider creating a graphic organizer that students can use to take notes as they read and explore.
  • Other related resources include this video about the hydrosphere and atmosphere, this video about the structure of Earth's atmosphere, and this lab activity investigating the greenhouse effect. 
Scientist Notes
This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
    • PS1: Matter and its Interactions
      • MS-PS1-4 Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
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