Sample Investigation Questions

Shout Out Loud

  • How is the loudness of sound measured?
  • What are the possible reasons that some words may be said louder than others?
  • What are the possible reasons that some people can shout words louder than others?
  • How can we analyze data to answer questions about the loudness data collected?

Robolander on Mars

  • How can a robot be controlled remotely using images of the region?

Hurricane Tracking Using GIS

  • How can the path of hurricanes be tracked?
  • What conditions affect the path and strength of hurricanes?

Water Quality Studies

  • How do the profile, flow and chemical composition of Plymouth's Eel River change from year to year?

The Chernobyl Accident

  • How has the Chernobyl accident affected the environment in Ukraine?
  • Have resources been affected?
  • What are the far-reaching effects of the Chernobyl accident?

Mt. St. Helens

  • How did the eruption at Mount St. Helens affect the environment?
  • Have ecosystems been affected?
  • What were the effects on habitats?
  • How were surrounding towns affected?

Locating Current Earthquake Activity

  • How many earthquakes have occurred in the last 24 hours? In the last seven days?
  • Where were these earthquakes located?
  • Do you think earthquakes occur in predictable locations?

Using Excel to Analyze Mineral Density

  • Is the density of a mineral related to its chemical composition?
  • Are other properties of minerals related to density?

Climate Longitude Investigation

  • Does longitude affect climate? What factors affect climate?

Earth System Investigation

  • How does the Earth act like a system?
  • In what way do energy and processes cause matter to cycle through various 'reservoirs' contained within the earth's spheres?

Looking for Alewife in all the Right Places

  • When and where do Alewives spawn along the North Atlantic seaboard?
  • Does the population fluctuate seasonally?


  • What is density?
  • How can the density of a material be found given the volume and mass of a material?
  • What is the importance of knowing the density?

Boston Harbor Investigation

  • How much of Boston is built on fill?
  • What areas of Boston didn't exist before 1838?
  • What landmarks could be in jeopardy if an earthquake struck Boston?
  • What would happen to the areas that were built on fill?

Sun Seasons

  • How do the times of sunrise and sunset vary throughout the year?
  • When are the day light hours the greatest and when are they the least?
  • How do these times change with latitude?
  • How does this affect the seasons?

Is Pluto a Planet?

  • What are the characteristics of a planet?
  • Do the characteristics of Pluto match more closely that of a planet or of a Kuiper object?

Investigating Plate Tectonics Using GIS from the Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter

  • What is the relationship between earthquakes and plate boundaries?
  • What is the pattern of large earthquakes with respect to their proximity to diverging, converging and transform plate boundaries?
  • How can the patterns and relationships of historic earthquakes be used to predict the location of future earthquakes?

Analyzing the Antarctic Ozone Hole from the Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter

  • What is an ozone hole? How big is the hole? Is there a significant increase every year?
  • How do scientists interpret the images to identify the ozone hole?