Dynamic Wetlands

Dynamic Wetlands Activity Source: Nebraska Earth Systems Education Network, School of Natural Resources By Roseanne Williby Purpose To increase student awareness of the value and importance of our wetlands Background What is a wetland? Wetlands are called one of the world’s most productive ecosystems. They produce more plant and animal life than woodlands or prairies. Characteristics, like water levels, naturally change seasonally and annually. Wetlands are in transition between aquatic and terrestrial systems where the water table is usually at or near the land surface or the land is covered by shallow water. [Read More]

Groundwater on the Move

Groundwater on the Move Activity Source: Adapted with permission by Bureau of Land Management. 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. Groundwater supplies about 38 percent of the water used for agriculture in the United States. [Read More]

Humans and Water, Past to Present

Humans and Water, Past to Present Activity Source: Adapted with permission by Archaeological Institute of America. Humans use lots of water. We need it for various activities, including agriculture, transport, washing, and recreation. Most important, we need to drink fresh water to stay alive. Today, in many regions around the world, fresh water comes straight to where we need it. But in some places, people must carry gallons of water from the closest stream, river, lake, or well to their homes. [Read More]

Identifying Your Watershed

Identifying Your Watershed Activity Source: Water Use In Vermont - An Activities Guide For Teachers (United States Geological Survey) Goal To identify the (1) watershed you live in, (2) source of water used at home, and (3) pathway of surface runoff in your watershed. Look at the watershed maps of your state to answer the following questions: In what town do you reside? Locate your town on the town map. Locate your watershed on the town map. [Read More]

It’s the “Rain,” Man

It’s the “Rain,” Man Activity Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Adapted with permission. People find inspiration in many different places and things. Among them is taking joy in sensing the Earth around you. Feel the breeze on your face. Take in the fresh smell of the air after a spring rain. Use your hands to build something. Wherever you live you can get outside, savor your surroundings and observe what makes up the rhythms of the place you live. [Read More]

Measuring Glacial Retreat

Measuring Glacial Retreat Activity Source: Adapted with permission by U.S. Geological Survey. 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. [Read More]

Monitoring Life in the Rocky Intertidal Ecosystem

Monitoring Life in the Rocky Intertidal Ecosystem Activity Source: NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program and Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association, 2006. Adapted with permission. Background The five national marine sanctuaries along the West Coast monitor the health of the rocky intertidal ecosystem. One way of doing this is to collect data on the relative abundance of the organisms living in that ecosystem. Since this is such a big task, the national marine sanctuaries are training students in how to follow standardized protocols to help with the monitoring. [Read More]

Mystery Mollusc

Mystery Mollusc Activity Source: “Problem- Based Career Activity for the Mystery Mollusc NOAA Explore Poster” Written by Joyce E. Patterson Stark, NOAA Office of Education and Sustainable Development Problem-based learning is an inquiry technique that involves students working cooperatively in groups solving real-world problems. Students learn how to assess what they know, identify what they need to know, gather information and come to a conclusion. The teachers are the coaches or facilitators who give only guidance on how to approach the problem. [Read More]

Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The ocean is a “carbon sink,” which means that it removes CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere. The ocean currently absorbs about one-third of the CO2 released by the burning of fossil fuels. However, beyond a certain level of atmospheric CO2, the ocean can no longer act as a carbon sink without it having a negative impact on marine life. [Read More]