Dating Popcorn

How do geologists understand the Earth’s history? In part, they measure the age of rocks and other natural materials by dating techniques. They can date rocks by gauging the amount of decay of radioactive elements. You can simulate the dating process with popcorn.

Deep-Sea Drilling

This activity enables students to estimate and calculate scales of distance and length as used by ocean drilling scientists.

Density of Minerals

Density is an intrinsic physical property of minerals that relates to the composition of the mineral and to the pattern in which the mineral’s atoms are arranged. “Intrinsic” means that the property is the same for the mineral, no matter what the size or shape of the sample. In this activity, students will measure and compare the densities of minerals.

Disaster Supplies Kit

Prepare a kit in case of natural hazards or a disaster. This list from FEMA and the Red Cross will have you prepared for almost any emergency!

Discovering Fossils

A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in a geologic context, such as within rock or sediment. This activity allows you to explore the process used by paleontologists — scientists who study fossils to understand ancient landscapes, climate, and life on Earth — to find and identify fossils.

Earth's Hydrologic Cycle

The ocean is the key element in Earth's hydrologic cycle (water cycle). Students will construct a simple model of the hydrologic cycle to help them visualize and understand the movement of liquid water and heat.

Earth: This Is Home

If you have ever used Google Earth, what was the first place you tried to find? For many people the answer is “my home.” Where humans choose to live is one of the fundamental influences on the surface of our planet.


EarthCaching is an exciting educational activity through which you can learn about Earth and the natural processes that shape our planet over time. By combining GPS technology with outdoor field experiences, EarthCaching allows students and others to experience the wonders of Earth in an entirely new and entertaining way.

Earthquake on the Playground

Push away from those paper seismograms and get outside to make your own earthquake waves! You're going to learn about earthquake location kinesthetically. In the activity below, you will model how earthquake waves travel through the Earth at different speeds. You also will construct and utilize a graph to characterize the relationship between distance and time of travel of seismic waves (a travel-time curve). Finally, you'll use the constructed travel-time curves to locate the epicenter of a simulated earthquake by triangulation.

Energy and Population

Just as your GPS helps you make sure you’re getting from point “a” to point “b” correctly, maps help scientists draw important conclusions and visualize important concepts they study. The right map can help a petroleum engineer find the best drilling site, or help a meteorologist make the best prediction. This interactive mapping activity will help you understand the relationship between the population of a given state and the amount of energy consumed there.


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