Ideas for Teaching

EarthLabs: Hurricanes

EarthLabs units offer sequences for learning science concepts through hands-on experiments and data analysis. Using satellite imagery, numerical data, and computer visualizations, students explore Earth system processes and build quantitative skills that enable them to objectively evaluate scientific findings for themselves. The Hurricanes chapter encompasses 9 sets of learning activities that help students place hurricanes in time and space, investigate the fundamental principles involved in hurricane formation, and understand the dangers involved to human communities from these incredibly powerful storms.

Investigating Hurricane Katrina in your Classroom

This part of the Integrating Research and Education website is designed to provide scientific information and resources to help students understand the science behind Hurricane Katrina, the third major hurricane of the 2005 season. Topics include the geology and geography of the region, the climate, the human impacts and developments in the region, natural resources, the aftermath of the storm, hurricane science, and history and effects on human health. This collection contains an assortment of digital resources and teaching ideas relevant to the many components of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

The Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection

Large hurricanes have captured the attention of many citizens in recent years and prompts the inevitable question about the relationship between climate change and hurricanes. This website from On the Cutting Edge focuses on recent hurricanes and the latest climate change research to engage students and help them understand the central issues of climate change and hurricane activity.


Vignettes are stand-alone, illustrated electronic case studies that teach about geomorphology, surface processes, and/or Quaternary history. They are short, place-based examples that allow instructors to customize their class' approach to learning. Click here to browse the full collection of Vignettes.

Natural Storm Variability in New England
By compiling pre-historic, sedimentary records, researchers can define natural climate patterns as well as variations that could have detrimental effects to society. Understanding the natural variability in precipitation, for example, is necessary for distinguishing and projecting changes that may accompany climate change. Decreases in the frequency and magnitude of rainstorms could cause drought that destroys crops and threatens drinking water supply.


Exploring Oceanographic Data in the Classroom Using the Laboratory for Ocean Color Users
This DataSheet is designed to help educators use NASA's Laboratory for Ocean Color Users tool which is intended to provide a guided pathway to aid in the utilization of ocean color data for oceanographic and environmental research. Ocean color data provides an expression of biological activity in the oceans.

Exploring the Ocean Surface with Data from the Global Drifter Program
Buoy Data from the Global Drifter Program provide real-time and historical data for over 1000 global drifter buoys. Data monitored include buoy position and sea surface temperature (SST).

Exploring the Applications of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data
Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Data is the only satellite imagery that can be acquired at any time of the day or night and during adverse weather conditions.

Learn more about DataSheets

Data Vignette: Something positive from Hurricane Katrina: a means of data-driven meteorological education

This page from Using Data in the Classroom examines how one faculty member used the data gathered about Hurricane Katrina to teach his students about the formation and evolution of storms as atmospheric phenomena.