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Khan Academy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Health

Resource Types

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 9 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Stratospheric Ozone Depletion

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  • This video explains how ozone forms in the stratosphere and the role it plays in protecting life on Earth from damaging ultraviolet radiation. 
  • It also discusses CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances, and the fact that ozone can be harmful when it forms at ground level from nitrous oxide (a by-product of burning fossil fuels) and volatile organic compounds.
Teaching Tips


  • Drawings and diagrams help illustrate the concepts presented in the video and the interactive questions can help students check their understanding.
  • It connects the health implications of ground-level ozone and the depletion of stratospheric ozone to human activities that we can change.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You may want to introduce students to the Montreal Protocol, which limited the production of ozone-damaging substances and saved the planet from extreme UV radiation damage.


  • Philosophy or English language arts classes could discuss how ozone is helpful when it is in the stratosphere and dangerous when it is in the troposphere. Students could write about something else that has the power to harm or help organisms, depending on variables such as time, place, amount, or application. 
  • Chemistry classes could discuss the chemical reaction that occurs when nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds are exposed to ultraviolet light.
  • Other resources on this topic include this American Lung Association article on ozone's effect on lung health, this experiment from the EPA on testing for tropospheric ozone, and this Vox video about the ozone layer.
Scientist Notes
This 5-minute video presents an overview of ozone chemistry in our atmosphere with a particular focus on stratospheric ozone, causes of stratospheric ozone depletion, and the impacts on human health. This is a concise video that presents complex atmospheric chemistry topics clearly. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • HS-ESS1-1 Develop a model based on evidence to illustrate the life span of the sun and the role of nuclear fusion in the sun’s core to release energy that eventually reaches Earth in the form of radiation.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-6 Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
    • PS1: Matter and its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-2 Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
    • PS4: Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
      • HS-PS4-4 Evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter.
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