Layers of the Atmosphere, Alison’s Montessori

  • Chemistry, Geology 3-6, 6-9
Puzzle Layers of the Atmosphere
  • This month, we have been watching the Geminids, meteor shower that occured from December 4th to December 17th. What a perfect event to continue studying our layers of the atmosphere. Early this year, we learned that the water cycle occurs in the Troposphere. This time, we learned that meteors burn when they reach the Mesosphere.


  • The Puzzle Layers of the Atmosphere set:
  • a Wooden Puzzle Layers of the Atmosphere
  • a Control Chart
  • The Nomenclature Cards Layers of the Atmosphere set (see picture below):
  • 17 Description Cards labeled
  • 17 Description Cards unlabeled
  • 17 Pictures labeled
  • 17 Pictures unlabeled
  • 2 Sets of 17 labels to complete the unlabeled cards
  • a Control Chart
  • a Booklet
  • a Blackline Master to color and label
The Nomenclature cards offer different challenges
Booklet serves as control for the nomenclature cards

Why we liked them

  • First, the graphics and colors call for attention. This is the first time I see material that gathered both layers of the atmosphere and layers of the earth. Children see the two sets of layers as a whole as they are interdependently part of the Earth.
16 Piece Puzzle
  • This is also the first time I see the Karman Line represented in a Montessori material. The Karman Line is an attempt to define the demarcation between air space and outer space. Some materials will omit the exosphere completely since it’s still up to debate.
  • The set of nomenclature cards contains a rich content to spark interest: altitude of each layer in kilometers, temperature, gases, Sun’s rays, natural events occurring and why, earth composition (elements).
Sample of the Nomenclature Cards
  • Other terms that we don’t encounter quite often in other materials are: ozone layer, lithosphere, asthenosphere, continental crust, oceanic crust, and northern lights.
Wooden Labels

How we use them

  • For this work, the children worked together to put the arrows on the puzzle. They were many questions to which sometimes I wouldn’t know the answers. In my teaching career, I learned to be specific and exact with learners. That is why I appreciate having the booklet for the nomenclature cards. The first knowledge they hear is specific and exact.
  • After having placed the arrows, I invited the children to lay out the puzzle on the mat. This way, they can see all the parts of the puzzle. Any work that the hands do, the brain remembers. The puzzle help them process the knowledge by organizing the pieces.

Finally, the children organized the nomenclature cards. They first matched the definitions to the pictures. Later, they will use the close test (blank) cards to add some challenge. The close test cards allow them to assess if they know enough information for each component of the puzzle. Of course, sometimes they cannot be sure, and that is when they refer to the booklet. They know they are not required to memorize, it often occurs naturally and effortlessly when the interest is high.

The extension for this work is to keep reading on the topic using a variety of books we have in our home library. They can decide to make a copy of the Master Blackline, color it, and label it. They can draw their own diagram in their science notebook and write about anything that may inspire them. They know they can choose one component and research it (aurora borealis, satellites, meteoroids, seismic activities, ozone, etc…).

Puzzle and 17 nomenclature cards
Books We Used (affiliate links below)

Disclosure: I hope this honest review was inspiring and helpful. It was made possible thanks to Alison’s Montessori for providing me with confidence this material at no cost. If you purchase through my Amazon affiliate links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, which helps with site maintenance. Thank you, always!

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