Lesson Plan

Healing the Ozone: First Steps Toward Success


The ozone layer is a region of the Earth’s stratosphere that contains a relatively high concentration of the gas ozone (O3). This concentration allows the ozone layer to absorb most of the sun’s ultraviolet light, protecting Earth’s inhabitants from the harmful energy. In the 1970s, the threat to the ozone layer was one of the first environmental hazards that captured the attention of the general public. Scientists warned that action needed to be taken to repair the hole in the protective ozone layer to prevent millions of cases of skin cancer around the globe. Politicians, corporate leaders and scientists worked together to envision and ratify the Montreal Protocol. This collaborative effort has shown promise. This year, scientists announced that the ozone layer hole was beginning to heal. In this lesson, students will explore the scientific, political, economic and social events that led to the depletion of the ozone layer, as well as the global response.


Students will:

  • Analyze data to determine trends in atmospheric ozone from 1979 to today.
  • Establish a timeline of events related to ozone depletion and repair.
  • Communicate to a wide audience the relationship between data collected and societal actions.
  • Environment
  • Climate Change
  • 1980s America
  • 1970s America
For Teachers

Essential Questions

  • How do human actions affect the environment?
  • How can data be used to leverage action to solve political, social and economic problems?

Additional Resources

Transcript for "Healing the Ozone: First Steps Toward Success"Retro Report 
Advanced Global and Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE)Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
U.S. Patent for Refrigerating ApparatusAlex A Mccormack 
Article: Climate Change TimelineUSA Today 

Gather relevant information from multiple sources while using the origin, authority, structure, context, and corroborative value of the sources to guide the selection.

Identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims, noting evidentiary limitations

Construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging the strengths and limitations of the arguments.

Construct arguments using precise and knowledgeable claims, with evidence from multiple sources, while acknowledging counterclaims and evidentiary weaknesses.

Substances are made from different types of atoms, which combine with one another in various ways. Atoms form molecules that range in size from two to thousands of atoms.

Each pure substance has characteristic physical and chemical properties (for any bulk quantity under given conditions) that can be used to identify it.

The structure and interactions of matter at the bulk scale are determined by electrical forces within and between atoms.

  • Analyzing & interpreting data
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
  • Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

More like this

Image from Nuclear Power: From Three Mile Island to Fukushima

Nuclear Power: From Three Mile Island to Fukushima

Students will learn how nuclear energy’s prospects were dimmed by accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, and how modern concerns over climate change have sparked a complex debate about the future of nuclear energy.
Image from The Roots of Recycling

The Roots of Recycling

Students will learn the story behind the recycling movement, explore different waste management strategies, and examine their own lunchroom garbage.
Image from Can Plant-Based Meat Mitigate Climate Change?

Can Plant-Based Meat Mitigate Climate Change?

Students will assess the nutritional value, economic success and environmental impact of plant-based meats – a current trend with roots in a movement that took off in the 1970s with the bestselling book “Diet for a Small Planet.
Image from Harvesting the Rain

Harvesting the Rain

Students will explore the issue of water sustainability by examining the distribution of fresh water on Earth and using a physical model to simulate the implementation of rainwater harvesting practices.
Image from Unprepared: Lessons From Two Massive Oil Spills

Unprepared: Lessons From Two Massive Oil Spills

Students will learn about the Exxon Valdez and BP Deepwater Horizon oil spills, as well as examining the long-term effects on ecosystems and coastal communities.
Image from Human Geography: The Population Bomb

Human Geography: The Population Bomb

Students will learn why concerns about population growth first emerged in the 1970s, why predictions about population were wrong, and what that means for today.
Image from The Environment and Natural Resources: Wild Horses

The Environment and Natural Resources: Wild Horses

Students will learn about efforts in the early 1970s to enhance environmental regulation and species protections and what happens when those policies lead to conflict – in this case over the wild horse.
Image from The Birth of the Environmental Movement: DDT and Rachel Carson

The Birth of the Environmental Movement: DDT and Rachel Carson

Students will learn how the U.S. government came to develop environmental protection policies and what that means today as we struggle to balance the risk between pesticides and disease.
Questions? Tips? Concerns? Reach out to our Director of Education, David Olson: dolson@retroreport.com