what keeps Earth warm?

Last updated: July 2, 2020

Math Skill: Measurement (Temperature)

Science Subject: Weather and Climate

Grade level: 5th grade

Environmental Area: Air

Area level: Global level

Purpose: Understand the role of greenhouse gas on Earth and Venus and develop awareness of climate change



Our Earth has been kept warm through a process called the greenhouse effect. The Earth’s surface heats up after the Earth gets energy from the sun in the form of sunlight. The Earth’s surface cools down by releasing the heat (infra-red rays) back into outer space. But some of the heat is absorbed by layers of gases called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which keeps the Earth warm at 59°F on average.

Without these greenhouse gases, the Earth’s surface would be about -2 °F on average. Scientific findings show that, due to the recent rising concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect has been enhanced and more heat emitted by the surface ends up being trapped by the atmosphere and bounced back to the surface, contributing to the rise of global temperature.


Climate change and Greenhouse Gas Effect

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 8.54.09 AM



The figures compare temperature on Earth (59°F)and Venus (800°F). The average temperature of Venus is very hot because of a very thick layer of greenhouse gases surrounding the planet. Using average temperatures, students practice temperature skills in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.


PROBLEM & answer key

Math Skill: Measurement (Temperature)

Students are asked to pick a tool to measure temperature. Using the conversion table, students are also asked to find out an equivalent temperature in Celsius.

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 8.54.09 AM