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Ozone is a form of oxygen with three oxygen atoms that occupies most of the atmosphere between miles above the Earth. When located at ground level and trapped near the Earth's surface, ozone is one of the most dangerous components of smog. In that situation, it cannot move higher in the atmosphere where it would filter out most of the sun's ultraviolet UV rays.
Atmospheric ozone is a bluish gas about 12 miles 20 km thick, found just inside the stratosphere see Figure 1. Figure 1.
Most of the sun's ultraviolet rays do not pass through the Earth's natural protective ozone layer. This type of UV radiation is known to weaken our immune systems, cause sunburns tans , wrinkles, skin cancer and cataracts, and be harmful to plants crop damage, by destroying germinating seeds , and life in the top layer of the oceans.
Fortunately, most UV light is absorbed by the protective ozone layer.
Manual Lesson Plans Bluish
If all of the ozone in the atmosphere were subjected to the temperature and pressure at the Earth's surface, it would form a layer only 0. The atmospheric ozone absorbs UV light according to the following process: A ray of UV light strikes an ozone molecule, is absorbed and transfers its energy to an individual oxygen atom, giving the atom enough energy to break free of the ozone molecule. Approximately million tons of ozone is converted to oxygen and back to ozone every day through this process — which means a lot of UV light is being absorbed. This natural process was in balance, and the ozone layer maintained a steady thickness, until scientists in the s noticed a thinning in the layer above Antarctica.
This thinning became more pronounced every year, until it came to be known as the "ozone hole. Figure 2. Reaction of chlorine with ozone in the stratosphere, contributing to ozone holes. A chlorine atom released from a CFC attaches itself to an ozone molecule and steals one of its three oxygen atoms, destroying the ozone by converting it into oxygen O2. These by-products were slowly carried into the upper atmosphere by weather patterns over a period of years even though CFCs are heavier than air. Once in the troposphere , these damaging chlorine atoms broke apart and were free to destroy ozone molecules see Figure 2.
In most cases, the chlorine atoms were not able to make a significant impact, but the atmospheric conditions above Antarctica were just right for the chlorine atoms to wreak havoc with the ozone layer. Ozone holes are also now appearing in the Northern hemisphere as well, usually during the winter months. Due to this discovery, production of aerosol spray cans containing CFCs was outlawed in the U. But, as the years passed, it became apparent to the U.
Since , there has been a significant decline in the production of these harmful compounds, but because the lifetime of these compounds is so long 50 — 2, years! Watch this activity on YouTube. Ask the students what they have learned about ozone. Review with them the process by which ozone breaks down in contact with ultraviolet radiation and is produced again when free oxygen atoms come in contact with each other and oxygen O 2 molecules.
Ask them how pollution, such as CFCs chlorofluorocarbons , can interrupt the natural process of ozone production. Answer: Harmful pollutants in the air, such as CFCs, can destroy ozone by converting it into oxygen molecules and atoms, and actually forcing ozone to break down more rapidly than it can rebuild. Ask students to think of other analogies that demonstrate the Earth's ozone layer and holes.
They could be physical models, metaphors or similes. When trapped at ground level, ozone is one of the most dangerous components of smog. It is important because it prevents the most harmful rays of the sun from reaching the Earth's surface. It is 30 miles thick and contains the ozone layer.
It is 10 miles high and contains all of the air in the atmosphere. Discussion Question : Solicit, integrate and summarize student responses on the board. Ask the students:. Numbered Heads: Divide the class into teams of three to five students each. Have the students on each team pick numbers or number off so each member has a different number.
Ask the students a question give them a time frame for solving it, if desired. The members of each team should work together to answer the question. Everyone on the team must know the answer. Call a number at random. Students with that number should raise their hands to give the answer. If not all the students with that number raise their hands, allow the teams to work a little longer.
Demonstration : Conduct this activity as either a class demonstration, or if you have enough supplies, in groups of students each. Gauge students' depth of knowledge with the concluding discussion questions. You need: waxed paper, a globe and a flashlight.
The H&E Stain – A Lesson on Consistency and Reproducibility
Save the Ozone! Ask the students what they think engineers can do to help save the ozone.
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Possible answers: Design technology to clean up pollutants or prevent future pollutants from entering the atmosphere, design technologies to manufacture products in non-polluting ways, persuade governments and corporations to agree to stop producing CFCs in their own countries. Have the students create an informative flyer on ozone depletion. They should include the natural process of ozone, how it is affected by pollution, and what this means for their future.
Display these flyers in the school hallway or common area. High Level Ozone. Updated October 15, Accessed November 10, Kerrod, Robin. Let's Investigate Science — The Environment. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Iowa State University. Markle, Sandra. The Kids' Earth Handbook. Ozone Depletion Index. Updated June 15, Stratospheric Ozone Information for Children. Updated September 20, However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education or National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Why K engineering? Find more at TeachEngineering.
Quick Look. Grade Level: 6 Lessons in this Unit : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Time Required: 45 minutes Lesson Dependency Lesson dependency indicates that this lesson relies upon the contents of the TeachEngineering document s listed. Print this lesson Toggle Dropdown Print lesson and its associated curriculum. Curriculum in this Unit Most curricular materials in TeachEngineering are hierarchically organized; i.
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