Ozone Layer Activities & Games

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

Your students may have heard the term 'ozone layer' many times without really knowing much about the topic at all. The following activities and games will help you teach your students about the ozone layer that surrounds the Earth.

The Ozone Layer

The ozone layer is a part of the Earth's stratosphere that protects the Earth from getting too much UV radiation. You can think of the ozone layer as a protective shield that keeps the harmful rays of the sun from hurting the plants and animals that live on the Earth. Unfortunately, man-made compounds, most notably chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), have depleted or thinned out parts of the ozone layer, which means that more of that harmful UV radiation is coming through and affecting our planet.

The following activities and games will help your students learn about the ozone layer, what it does, and how humans are affecting our protective shield.

Ozone Depletion

Divide your students into small groups of 3-4. Your students will have to research how the ozone layer is being depleted by humans. You might consider collaborating with your school librarian to gather materials like books and articles for your students. They should plan a presentation to share the information they learned. Their presentation can be in the form of a slide show, skit, or written book. Have each group present to the rest of the class. They can practice then perform their slide shows and skits, or read their picture book to the rest of the class.

Examine the Ozone Hole

Direct your students toward the ozone hole above Antarctica. In small groups, they will examine this example and create a diagram that shows the specific details of how this hole was created. Help your students access information from the EPA and NASA websites. After your students have created their diagrams, display them around the classroom. Ask your students to notice and discuss the different ways that groups chose to portray the ozone hole.

United Nations Report

Collect and pass out the United Nations reports on the ozone layer from 2010 and 2014. Direct your students to section 7, ''What emissions from human activities lead to ozone depletion?'' In groups, students should read the entries from both years, and answer the following discussion questions:

  • What trends does the United Nations see regarding the ozone depletion?
  • What changes happened from 2010 to 2014?
  • How do you think this information could help people address the problems in the ozone?

Next, have each group conduct a short debate. They should answer the question: ''Should humans change their behavior to help the ozone layer?'' Each student should answer the question and explain why they think humans should or should not change their behavior.

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