Skill Building: Physical Science Concepts

Global Change: Where Land, Air and Water Meet

The atmosphere is a mixture of gases. Similarly, the world's oceans and fresh waters contain dissolved chemicals. Many substances dispersed in air or water are measured in parts per million. Some of these substances are colorless, odorless, and tasteless, yet even in small quantities they can be toxic. To develop an understanding of parts per million as a concept, teams of students will create successive dilutions of a solution to reach a parts-per-million concentration.

Groundwater Movement

Water that accumulates beneath the surface of the Earth is called groundwater. Contrary to popular belief, groundwater does not form underground "rivers," but is actually found in the small spaces and cracks between rocks and other material such as sand and gravel. The following activity involves learning how water moves through rock materials such as sand, gravel, and clay.

Hands-On Experiments to Test for Acid-Mine Drainage

 Click on the link below for the .pdf file of this classroom activity.

PDF icon Acid Mine Drainage

How Can You Test Your Soil?

As a citizen scientist, you can use a soil test kit to find out how much of each type of chemical is in your soil.

Investigating Different Rock Types

In this investigation, you will explore the characteristics of various types of rocks.

Investigating Soil

Investigate different types of soil by using a core sample.


When it comes to slipping, sliding, and stability in soils, the key word is “liquefaction.”

During an event like an earthquake, liquefaction is the process by which saturated soil behaves like a liquid. This can be problematic, as a liquid soil loses structure and can cause buildings to sink, foundations to crack, and soil to slide down slopes all at once.

How does the type of soil affect how much a house will sink or shift during an earthquake? Conduct an experiment to test your ideas!

Logs of Straw - Dendrocronology

Dendrochronologists use tree rings to go back in time to learn more about past climate. Using straws to recreate tree rings, you can learn how dendrochronologists work.

Magnets at the Core

Learn about the Earth's magnetic poles and paleomagnetism in this activity from Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Make Your Own Compass

Learn how to make a compass using household objects!


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