Adaptations of Cave Critters

Adaptations of Cave Critters Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Park Service Caves with the National Natural Landmark (NNL) designation are some of the most fascinating of the thousands of caves around the world, and each one is unique. Caves’ special features are the product of various types of rock, their geologic setting, local climate, and time. This diversity in cave environments provides unique habitats for many different species of plants, animals, and other types of organisms. [Read More]

Burning Issues

Burning Issues Activity Source: The Canadian Forestry Association Learning Outcomes Students will become familiar with fire terminology, realize how fire can be used as a management tool, and better understand the factors that need to be considered when planning a prescribed burn. Summary In this activity the students will form opinions around fire management issues. They will then work in small groups to get more information around the issues and make a more informed decision. [Read More]

Core Sampling

Core Sampling Activity Source: Society of Petroleum Engineers. Adapted with permission. Core samples are small portions of a formation taken from an existing well and used for geologic analysis. The sample is analyzed to determine porosity, permeability, fluid content, geologic age, and probable productivity of oil from the site. Drilling is the only way to be sure that oil and gas fields exist and exactly what is present in the formation. [Read More]

Dating Popcorn

Dating Popcorn Activity Source: Association of American State Geologists. Adapted with permission. 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. The time necessary for half of any given amount of one element (the “parent element”) to decay to become another element (the “daughter element”) is called the element’s “half-life. [Read More]

Determining Mineral Reserves

Determining Mineral Reserves Activity Source: Minerals Education Coalition. This activity was adapted with permission from theOhio Mining & Mineral Education Program (OMMEP) of the Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA) in partnership with Wright State University. Common things we use every day, like roads, sidewalks, schools, hospitals and homes ─ to name just a few ─ are made up of rocks and minerals. As a resource, they are called mineral reserves and include materials like sand, gravel, limestone, granite, and other aggregate and construction materials. [Read More]

Digging Into Soil

Digging Into Soil Activity Source: American Geophysical Union. Adapted with permission from “Soils Sustain Life,” AGI. Materials Piece of heavy duty PVC pipe about one inch in diameter and 10 inches long Piece of wood doweling that will fit inside the PVC pipe Hammer Wood block Leather garden glove Hand lens or microscope Non-toxic marker Large sheet of white posterboard Six clear plastic sandwich bags Plastic knife Tools for separating soil, such as tweezers, tongue depressor, drinking straw Paper towels (for clean up) Procedure 1. [Read More]

Drill Site Dilemma

Drill Site Dilemma Activity Source: Consortium for Ocean Leadership. Adapted with permission. For teacher: The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) is an international research program that explores the history and structure of Earth as recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks. It seeks to expand the reach of several previous programs by a collaborative union between the United States, Japan, and the European Union. The JOIDES Resolution is the research vessel that is operated by the United States. [Read More]

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]


EarthCaching Activity Source: Geological Society of America. Adapted with permission. 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. Information about EarthCaching for educators can be found at There is a free Educator’s Guide that includes lessons and correlations to the National Science Education Standards and National Geography Education Standards. [Read More]

Energy and Population

Energy and Population Activity Source: The NEED Project. Adapted with permission. 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. [Read More]