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.
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.
Static electricity can be used to demonstrate the electricity of lightning. This activity will demonstrate the attraction of positive and negative charges and what happens when those opposite charges meet each other.
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.
In this activity, students will explore local places with wild elements, such as wildlife refuges. Students also will create maps showing spatial relationships between wild places and school, and they will find creative ways to record experiences.
When warm and cold air masses meet, a thunderstorm can grow. Thunderstorms also cause heavy rain, flash flooding, hail, strong winds and tornadoes. In this activity, you will learn about convection and how air moves.
We usually think of caves forming as rocks are dissolved and the particles are washed away, leaving hollow spaces behind. This activity simulates the way that dissolution, a chemical weathering process, leads to the formation of caves.
A refuge is a place where you can record observations of seasonal changes to plants, trees, and wildlife. You can use GPS (global positioning system) data to mark an observation spot and record your observations. Then, if you can, visit the same national wildlife refuge during other seasons in the year to document changes in the natural world.
Geoscientists use special boats to conduct research at sea. One of these boats is named the JOIDES Resolution (JR). Unlike most oceangoing vessels, the JR has a flat bottom, a 6.4-meter hole in the middle, 12 laboratories, and a derrick towering 67 meters above the waterline! Why? So scientists can sail nearly anywhere in the world to drill for samples of rocks and sediment from below the seafloor. What for? In hopes of discovering clues about Earth's history and structure, life in the deep biosphere, past climate change, earthquakes and natural resources.
The USGS has been studying glaciers in Glacier National Park since 1850. It is estimated that there were 150 glaciers in the park back then, and when the national park was established in 1910. Today only 25 glaciers remain.
Scientists go back every year to repeat photographs, as well as to examine the ice and the ecology of the landscape to see how glacial retreat is affecting plant and animal species that live there.