Earth, Space, and Environmental Science Resources from the Concord Consortium
The Concord Consortium develops free online STEM resources for K-14. Below is a curated collection of Concord Consortium resources for Earth, space, and environmental science to teach your students about plate tectonics, environmental sustainability (such as climate change, air quality, water availability), space, and natural hazards. The scaffolded curriculum units contain dynamic interactive Earth system simulations that can also be used as standalone teaching tools.
Register on the Concord Consortium's STEM Resource Finder to access research-based assessments, teacher guides, background materials, and tools to help you track and measure student learning.
Check out NESTA's other Teaching Resources.
High-Adventure ScienceHigh-Adventure Science modules bring some of the big unanswered questions in Earth and space science into the middle and high school classroom. Students engage in science as scientists do, exploring evidence and discussing issues of certainty–and uncertainty–with the models and data.
High-Adventure Science: Is there life in space?In this module students use models to explore how scientists find planets via the Doppler and transit methods and investigate what factors are necessary for habitability. Pre- and post-tests are available.
High-Adventure Science: What is the future of Earth's climate?In this module students examine real-world data and use models to explain how greenhouse gases interact with radiation to warm the planet. Students use models to investigate negative and positive feedback loops in the climate system. A pre-test, post-test, and automated scoring on argumentation items are available with this module. The module itself is also available in Spanish.
High-Adventure Science: Will there be enough fresh water?In this module students use real-world data to examine the availability of fresh water resources around the world. Students use models to explore how porosity and permeability affect water flow into aquifers. A pre-test, post-test, and automated scoring on argumentation items are available with this module.
High-Adventure Science: Will the air be clean enough to breathe?In this module use models to explore the factors that affect how pollutants move in the atmosphere. Students investigate how geography and weather conditions can affect an area's air quality. Pre- and post-tests are available. The module is also available in Spanish.
High-Adventure Science: What are our choices for supplying energy for the future?In this module investigate the costs and benefits (abundance, ecological impacts, etc.) of energy sources for generating electricity. A particular focus is given to natural gas extracted from shale formations through the hydraulic fracturing process. Pre- and post-tests are available.
High-Adventure Science: Can we feed the growing population?Food production depends on the availability of arable land, sunlight, rain, and organic matter. In this module students use models to explore how different uses of land affect the amount of topsoil and soil quality. Pre- and post-tests are available.
GEODE: What will Earth look like in 500 million years?This module focuses on the big idea that the Earth's surface is made up of simultaneously and continuously interacting tectonic plates at all sides of their borders. Students make observations about Earth using our earthquake and volcano model, Seismic Explorer, and our dynamic plate tectonics model, Tectonic Explorer. Students are able to test hypotheses and explain how Earth's system of tectonic plates created, and continues to shape, geological features and events on Earth.
Simulations and Models
Seismic ExplorerUse this model to explore the pattern of earthquakes (depth, magnitude, location, and frequency) and volcanic eruptions on the Earth. Make 3D cross-sections of earthquakes to see the patterns below the ground and make inferences about plate motion. Relate the patterns of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to Earth's topography.
Tectonic ExplorerUse a fictional Earth-like planet to explore plate tectonics as a system of interacting plates. Set up a test planet with the Planet Wizard, selecting number of plates, density, and plate motion. Explore how movement on one side of a plate affects movement on the other side. Make 3D cross-sections to explore how tectonic plates interact with each other below the surface. Run experiments to test how various features of Earth could have formed.
High-Adventure Science SimulationsExplore the "master" models for each of the High-Adventure Science modules (planet hunting, climate change, groundwater flow, aerial view air quality, side-view air quality, hydraulic fracturing, and land management/soil quality). Individual models within the curricula are scaffolded; the master models include all interacting factors and controls.