Science as Inquiry (G)

National Science Education Standard: Science as Inquiry

  • K-4
    1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
    2. Understanding about scientific inquiry
  • 5-8
    1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
    2. Understandings about scientific inquiry
  • 9-12
    1. Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
    2. Understandings about scientific inquiry

Glacier Slide

Glaciers can create lakes, valleys and areas known as kettle marshes. Their weight and movement are the tools a glacier uses to shape the landscape. Use this experiment to look at small "glaciers" and how they shape the landscape around them.

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

Hurricane Tracking

In this activity, plot data found on the National Hurricane Center website to track the path of the hurricane storms.

Identifying Your Watershed

The goal of this activity is to identify the watershed you live in, the source of water you use at home and the pathway of surface water runoff in your watershed.

Investigating Rock Types

In any science, it is important to accurately and understandably describe your observations for others. Whether for advancing research or informing the public, communicating your work is critical.

For geologists, this comes down to describing rocks’ colors, patterns, shapes and other features. These features may reveal evidence about the past, clues to their suitability for a construction project, or signs of valuable natural resources hidden within them.

Investigating Water Use in Your Home

Water is often called a renewable resource, but what does that really mean? Is water an unlimited resource? What happens to water after we use it? This investigation will help you understand exactly how much water you use in your home and how you can keep from wasting water. If many people are participating in this investigation, work in small groups of 3-5. Before you begin, think about all the ways water is used in your home. How much water do you and your family use at home everyday? Record your thoughts and share them with others. Make a list that combines everyone’s uses of water in their homes.

It's About Time

Geologic time can be difficult for people to understand. Our own lives are so short when we compare them to the age of the Earth, that the hundreds of millions of years of geologic time are almost too much to grasp. To understand how a timeline works, you will make a personal timeline and compare it to the geologic timeline shown here.

Know Your Energy Costs

Fossil fuels play an important role in allowing us to have lifestyles we’re accustomed to, but they do emit carbon dioxide, and we all want to be good stewards of our resources. The goal of this activity is to become aware of how much energy you use at school — and the financial and environmental costs.

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