What is being taught lesson by lesson:

  • During the first week, the focus has been on introducing the course which is set out above.
  • The structure of the Earth. You will look at the different layers and, more importantly as young scientists, look at how we know this.
  • Sedimentary rocks. This week we look at the characteristics of sedimentary rock, common features.
  • Igneous rocks. We looked at some of the most recognisable igneous rocks like granite, basalt and obsidian. We linked their formation to the structure of the Earth and how the heat to melt them comes from within the mantle.
  • Metamorphic rocks. This week, we see what happens to both sedimentary rocks and igneous rocks if they are subjected intense heat (from within the mantle) or pressure (buried or folding from the moving crust).
  • The rock cycle and how it links to the three types of rocks above.
  • Earth is a finite resource. Look at what materials we mine and extract, how the levels of these resources are doing and what we need to do to preserve them.
  • Recycling, bio-fuels and the carbon cycle. Look through these and how they link to our use of resources. Understand how recycling and bio fuels affect the carbon cycle.
  • Our atmosphere. Understand the gases in our atmosphere and their proportions.
  • Human impact on climate change. Firstly discuss climate change and dispel misconceptions and “fake news”.

Key Terms for this topic (Tier 3 vocabulary)

Sedimentary – igneous – metamorphic – lithification – weathering – erosion – lava – magma – photosynthesis – respiration – biodiesel – mantle.

KS3 Earth & Atmosphere

Are you ready for your assessment in this topic? Try out this simple quiz.

What everyone needs to know:


  1. Name the layers within the structure of the Earth and suggest why it would be difficult to journey to the centre of the Earth.
  2. Recall where the three different types of rock are found and that they are connected in a cycle.
  3. State that rocks are broken apart over time by weathering.
  4. Describe how oil is running out and explain why it is a finite resource.
  5. Ask questions to survey people’s opinions about recycling and present data in tables.
  6. State what ‘carbon neutral’ means and recall how carbon is ‘recycled’ naturally in the carbon cycle.
  7. Describe how we know that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have increased.


  1. Draw a scale cross-sectional diagram of the Earth and label all the sections correctly.
  2. Explain the processes by which the three different types of rock are formed.
  3. Describe the physical processes of the rock cycle, including weathering and erosion.
  4. Explain some of the key problems that result from our reliance on fossil fuels.
  5. Interpret answers to survey questions and produce suitable graphs.
  6. Draw and describe the key parts of the carbon cycle and describe how biofuels are made and used.
  7. Explain why people hold different views about the effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide.


  1. Suggest solutions to the problem of how we can reach the centre of the Earth.
  2. Explain key properties of the three types of rock in terms of their formation, and suggest uses for them.
  3. Explain evidence for the rock cycle and some more complex processes including lithification.
  4. Predict some of the effects on people of running out of oil and evaluate possible solutions.
  5. Evaluate the quality of survey data and suggest improvements to the survey.
  6. Explain how the carbon cycle is kept in balance and list benefits and drawbacks of biofuels.
  7. Evaluate secondary sources of data about climate change and justify their own opinions.