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Ready, Set, SCIENCE!, by the National Research Council, focuses on K-8 science classsrooms. Check out the other publications in our online store, as well as classroom materials.
This animation show where and when photosynthesis happens around the world as the seasons come and go. The land in the Northern Hemisphere gets greener each spring and summer, an indication of high rates of photosynthesis, and yellow during autumn as most plants become dormant and the amount of photosynthesis decreases. In tropical rainforest areas, plants live and photosynthesize all year long.
SeaWiFS Project

The Earth's Biosphere

The biosphere includes all living things on our planet – the life on land and in the oceans - plants, animals, fungi, protists with only one cell, and even little bacteria.

Other than water, the most common thing in the bodies of living things is an element called carbon. There are so many living things on the planet that if you added up all the carbon in all of their bodies, cells, trunks, stems, and leaves it would be heavier than 116 billion school buses!

The biosphere can impact the Earth’s climate. This is because the biosphere can change the amount of greenhouse gases that are in the air of our atmosphere. When plants make their food by doing photosynthesis, oxygen is put into the air and carbon dioxide greenhouse gas is taken out of the air. When plants and animals respire, carbon dioxide is put to the air and oxygen is taken out of the air. Microbes that live in soils can add nitrous oxide, another type of greenhouse gas, to the air. When people burn fossil fuels, forests, and fields, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere too.

Last modified May 7, 2007 by Lisa Gardiner.

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Traveling Nitrogen is a fun group game appropriate for the classroom. Players follow nitrogen atoms through living and nonliving parts of the nitrogen cycle. For grades 5-9.

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

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Kingdom Plantae

Kingdom Plantae has almost 300,000 different kinds of plants. Plants are found all over planet Earth. They can live in fields, in swamps, in oceans and in the desert. They can live where it is hot and...more

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Members of the Kingdom Protista are an unusual group of organisms that were put together because they don't really seem to belong to any other group. Some protists look or act like plants, others look...more

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Photosynthesis

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Changing the Nitrogen Cycle, Changing the Planet

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Can Dying Trees Change Weather and Climate?

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Earth as a System

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA