Science in Personal and Social Perspectives (E)

National Science Education Standard: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • K-4
    1. Personal health
    2. Characteristics and changes in populations
    3. Types of resources
    4. Changes in environments
    5. Science and technology in local challenges
  • 5-8
    1. Personal health
    2. Populations, resources, and environments
    3. Natural hazards
    4. Risks and benefits
    5. Science and technology in society
  • 9-12
    1. Personal and community health
    2. Population growth
    3. Natural resources
    4. Environmental quality
    5. Natural and human-induced hazards
    6. Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

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.


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 Machine

An earthquake simulation activity from IRIS.

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 Efficiency

Even in an area with an extreme climate, the ground maintains a relatively constant temperature. Because of this, a house that is built partly or entirely underground can be more energy-efficient than a home above ground. During the winter, the ground is warmer than the air. During the summer, it is cooler. Any large mass of earth tends to maintain a constant temperature. You can see for yourself how this works by testing how long it takes for a thermometer buried in sand or soil to reach the temperature of surrounding air.

Exploring 'Wild' Places with GIS

Regardless of where you live, engaging with the landscape means exploring spatial relationships between human and natural phenomena. Geographic information systems (GIS) technology ( provides an effective way to visualize and analyze these places, and your contact with them.

Exploring Change with GIS

On our ever-changing Earth, conditions may change quickly or slowly. Some changes come from natural processes; some from human activity. Satellites allow us to see conditions and track changes over time — in land use, forest health, land/water interface, and so on. Since 1972, Landsat satellites have been collecting data using various portions of the visible and invisible electromagnetic spectrum, at a scale close enough to see highways, but not individual buildings on a city block.

Exploring Climate Change with GIS

The factors at play in shaping our climate as well as the manifestation of its effects are geographic in nature. Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and methods are vital in documenting, monitoring, analyzing, and predicting these dynamic activities and interdependencies. Climate scientists and others in numerous careers and disciplines use GIS and its integrative nature to tackle these issues. You can, too.

Exploring Energy with GIS

Geoscientists, energy researchers, and others in numerous careers and disciplines use GIS and its integrative nature to tackle these issues. You can, too.


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