Elementary and Middle School (K-8) Activity Browse

Search for activities specifically designed for K-8 education. Refine this search by either clicking on the terms in boxes to the right or typing a term into the search box below. Activities include a description, background information, and necessary student documents.


Results 1 - 20 of 778 matches

Episodic tremor and slip: The Case of the Mystery Earthquakes | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Geodesy:Activities
Earthquakes in western Washington and Oregon are to be expected—the region lies in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Offshore, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate subducts under the North American plate, from northern California to British Columbia. The region, however, also experiences exotic seismicity— Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS).In this lesson, your students study seismic and GPS data from the region to recognize a pattern in which unusual tremors--with no surface earthquakes--coincide with jumps of GPS stations. This is ETS. Students model ductile and brittle behavior of the crust with lasagna noodles to understand how properties of materials depend on physical conditions. Finally, they assemble their knowledge of the data and models into an understanding of ETS in subduction zones and its relevance to the millions of residents in Cascadia.

Visualizing Relationships with Data: Exploring plate boundaries with Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and GPS Data in the Western U.S. & Alaska | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Geodesy:Activities
Learners use the UNAVCO GPS Velocity Viewer, or the included map packet to visualize relationships between earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate boundaries as a jigsaw activity.

3D View from a Drone | Make a 3D Model From Your Photos part of Geodesy:Activities
Using cameras mounted to drones, students will design and construct an experiment to take enough photos to make a 3-dimensional image of an outcrop or landform in a process called structure from motion (SfM). This activity has both a hands-on component (collecting data with the drone) and a computer-based component (creating the 3-dimensional model).___________________Drones can take photos that can be analyzed later. By planning ahead to have enough overlap between photos, you take those individual photos and make a 3-dimensional image!In this activity, you guide the students to identify an outcrop or landform to study later or over repeat visits. They go through the process to plan, conduct, and analyze an investigation to help answer their science question.The Challenge: Design and conduct an experiment to take enough photos to make a 3-dimensional image of an outcrop or landform, then analyze the image and interpret the resulting 3-d image.For instance they might wish to study a hillside that has been changed from a previous forest fire. How is the hillside starting to shift after rainstorms or snows? Monitoring an area over many months can lead to discoveries about how the erosional processes happen and also provide homeowners, park rangers, planners, and others valuable information to take action to stabilize areas to prevent landslides.

Detecting Cascadia's changing shape with GPS | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Geodesy:Activities
Research-grade Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allow students to deduce that Earth's crust is changing shape in measurable ways. From data gathered by EarthScope's Plate Boundary Observatory, students discover that the Pacific Northwest of the United States and coastal British Columbia — the Cascadia region - are geologically active: tectonic plates move and collide; they shift and buckle; continental crust deforms; regions warp; rocks crumple, bend, and will break.

Measuring Plate Motion with GPS: Iceland part of Geodesy:Activities
This lesson teaches middle and high school students to understand the architecture of GPS—from satellites to research quality stations on the ground. This is done with physical models and a presentation. Then students learn to interpret data for the station's position through time ("time series plots"). Students represent time series data as velocity vectors and add the vectors to create a total horizontal velocity vector. They apply their skills to discover that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is rifting Iceland. They cement and expand their understanding of GPS data with an abstraction using cars and maps. Finally, they explore GPS vectors in the context of global plate tectonics.

Measuring Ground Motion with GPS: How GPS Works (Demonstration) part of Geodesy:Activities
With printouts of typical GPS velocity vectors found near different tectonic boundaries and models of a GPS station, demonstrate how GPS work to measure ground motion.GPS velocity vectors point in the direction that a GPS station moves as the ground it is anchored to moves. The length of a velocity vector corresponds to the rate of motion. GPS velocity vectors thus provide useful information for how Earth's crust deforms in different tectonic settings.

Pinpointing Location with GPS Demonstration part of Geodesy:Activities
Using string, bubble gum, and a model of a GPS station, demonstrate how GPS work to pinpoint a location on Earth.Precisely knowing a location on Earth is useful because our Earth's surface is constantly changing from earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tectonic plate motion, landslides, and more. Thus, scientists can use positions determined with GPS to study all these Earth processes.

Converging Tectonic Plates Demonstration part of Geodesy:Activities
During this demo, participants use springs and a map of the Pacific Northwest with GPS vectors to investigate the stresses and surface expression of subduction zones, specifically the Juan de Fuca plate diving beneath the North American plate.

Engaging With Earthquake Hazard and Risk part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
This introductory activity engages learners in the study of earthquake hazards and the risk these hazards pose to humans in the communities in which we live. Learners will compare three maps of Anchorage, AK, depicting spatial information related to seismic hazards to generate questions about the factors that influence shaking intensity and damage to the built environment during earthquakes.

Frequency of Large Earthquakes part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Using the IRIS Earthquake Browser tool, students gather data to support a claim about how many large (Mw 8+) earthquakes will happen globally each year. This activity provides scaffolded experience downloading data and manipulating data within a spreadsheet.

Water Optimism - focusing on solutions for the hydrosphere in a take-home final exam part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
This take-home final exam asks students to demonstrate their improved skills in searching for sources (information literacy) and writing on freshwater science/society/policy intersections (science literacy), and ...

Student-Generated Sustainability Short Stories Anchored in Science and Information Literacies and the SDGs part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
To build and improve upon their science and information literacies, students create a collection of short non-fiction stories that connect to at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ...

Activity 7: Limitations of Systems Diagrams part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
This activity teaches students about the value of planning, knowing, and explaining the limitations of a systems diagram. Students are taught to follow the following four steps when assessing the limitations of a ...

Activity 8: Equilibrium Experiment part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
Students explore the systems thinking concepts of equilibrium and nonequilibrium with a water pouring experiment. Students complete the activity at home or virtually with videos. Water is poured from a top ...

Activity 10: Feedback Loops Applied part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
Students apply the vocabulary and concepts from the Activity 9: Feedback Loop Introduction to assess and create earth science feedback loops with the LOOPY online modeling program. (Optional) The students then ...

Activity 9: Feedback Loops Introduction part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
Students are introduced to feedback loop vocabulary and experiment with different relationships between reservoirs in simple feedback loops using LOOPY, a free, online modeling program.

Earthquake Early Warning Demonstration part of Geodesy:Activities
This hands-on demonstration illustrates how GPS instruments can be used in earthquake early warning systems to alert people of impending shaking. The same principles can be applied to other types of early warning systems (such as tsunami) or to early warning systems using a different type of geophysical sensor (such as a seismometer instead of a GPS).This demo is essentially a game that works best with a large audience (ideally over 30 people) in an auditorium. A few people are selected to be either surgeons, GPS stations, or a warning siren, with everyone else forming an earthquake "wave."

Science with Flubber: Glacial Isostasy part of Geodesy:Activities
Using two sets of flubber, one representing the Earth and one representing a glacier, demonstrate how the crust sinks and rebounds to the weight of a glacier, and how this motion can be measured using GPS.Flubber is a rubbery elastic substance, a non-Newtonian elasco-plastic fluid, that flows under gravity, but breaks when under high stress. Flubber is useful for demonstrating a wide range of Earth and glacier processes.

Did You Feel It? part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Did you have an earthquake where you live and want to participate in Community Science? Would you like students to better understand how earthquake intensity is determined? This guide provides ideas about how you can incorporate the online USGS tool: Did You Feel It? into your classroom.

Earthquake Intensity part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Introductory lesson that compares ShakeMaps between earthquakes in the same location but different magnitudes, and earthquakes of the same magnitude but different depths, to acquaint learners to the fundamental controls on intensity of shaking felt during an event: magnitude and distance from the earthquake source.