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Scientists think that Venus and Earth started out with similar atmospheres. Venus changed, however, due to a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus' thick clouds trap the heat generated as sunlight filters through the clouds but cannot escape. This greenhouse effect heats the surface of the planet to roughly 900 degrees F. To illustrate this effect, have children take a Ziploc bag and place some soil in it. Add a little water, place a baking thermometer inside, and close the bag tight. Place the bag in the sunlight, and watch the temperature heat up. This shows how the temperature on the surface rises when the heat built up is not allowed to escape.