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Browse K-12 Earth Systems Teaching Activities

Browse the collection of teaching activities and projects that explore Earth's systems, including the lithosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and hydrosphere. You can refine your search by using the search box or selecting the terms on the right side of the page.


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Mysterious motions along the Pacific Northwest Coast
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
Students work in small groups to analyze and interpret Global Positioning System (GPS) and seismic data related to "mysterious ground motions" first along the northern California coastline, and then in ...

What's Shaking in Greenland?
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
Students will work in small groups to compare the rate of icequake occurrence in Greenland to measured air temperature over time. This activity emphasizes the Earth systems concept by connecting seismic and ...

Induced Seismicity: Are humans causing earthquakes?
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
In this lab, students investigate a hotly debated topic relevant in the political, economic, and scientific arenas. They will examine the processes involved in unconventional oil and gas resource production, ...

Seismic Design Competition
Eric Hultgren, Wheaton North High School (IL)
This project is a modified version of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Student Leadership Council's Seismic Design Competition. This project has teams of students work to research, plan, build and ...

Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Ashfall Eruption
Eileen Herrstrom, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This activity takes place outside of the classroom and requires ~1 hour to complete. Students recreate the map of the Mt. St. Helens ash plume of 1980 and use their maps to answer a series of questions about this ...

Initial Ideas
Sue DeBari, Western Washington University
In this preparatory activity, students' initial ideas about the concepts to be covered in the module are collected and shared with the class. No attempt is made to correct any misconceptions at this point. ...

Earthquake Hazards: The next big one?
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
In this activity, students explore of the concept of probability and the distribution of earthquake sizes, and then work to understand how earthquake hazards are described by probabilities. Students then work in ...

Library Research Lab: Does the Ozone Hole cause Global Warming?
Carsten Braun, Westfield State University
In this lab activity students get to investigate a specific question (Does the Ozone Hole cause Global Warming?) and formalize their investigation as a briefing paper for the President of the United States. This ...

Florida River Project - individual and group research project
Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College
The Florida River Project is a semester-long project involving (1) an individual project in which students pose a scientific question and use existing data to test their hypothesis, and (2) a group project in which ...

Introduction to Scientific Journals
Avery Shinneman, University of Washington-Bothell Campus
In this activity, students are introduced to locating and reading peer-reviewed scientific journal articles. It helps ease students into the process of locating, reading, and using journal publications. This ...

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