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Humans and Water, Past to Present

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.

It’s the “Rain,” Man

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.

Look Up!

The following activity is designed to help you learn to listen, read, and communicate in both written and oral formats about the sky.

Making Caves: How Solution Caves Form

Caves form through a variety of natural processes depending on their local geology and climate. Flowing lava, melting ice, dissolving rock, and crashing waves are the major processes that form these wondrous environments. In this activity, students will observe a model of how the most common type of cave — solution caves — form.

Materials

Per student or small group:
• 4 ounces of modeling clay
• Sugar cubes (3-6 per cave)
• See-through bowl (cutting the top off a 2-liter bottle works well)
• Toothpick

Making Earth Art With Google Earth

If you were an alien visiting Earth for the first time, you might remark on the diverse and incredible landscapes and patterns around majestic mountains, green forests, rolling grasslands, and turquoise oceans. You also might recognize geometries of civilization and changing weather patterns. All this can be explored from space. In this activity you will explore our planet using Google Earth and locate natural and man-made patterns and landscapes on Earth’s surface that inspire you.

Making Visible the Path of the Sun

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This we know from personal observation. But have you ever thought about where the sun is in the sky at the same time each day?

You might think the sun would appear at the same place at the same time each day. This would be true if Earth had no tilt and its orbit were a perfect circle. But this is not the case.

Model of a Well

Groundwater is contained in the zone of saturation below the land surface. The top of this zone is known as the water table. People can tap into this source of water by drilling wells. The depth of the well and level of the water table greatly influences the wells productivity. In this activity you will demonstrate the relationship of groundwater to wells.

Mud Fossils

Learn about fossil preservation, paleontology, and stratigraphy in this detailed activity from the USGS.

Ocean Currents

In this activity, students will learn the pattern of major ocean currents and how they are changed by wind, land and water.

Parks Past, Present, and Future

Over Earth’s 4.5 billion-year history, tectonic upheavals and colliding plates formed mountain ranges and carved out basins. Forces of erosion and weathering have been at work to break down these landforms. Records of these processes are imprinted on the land and define distinctive landscapes around the United States and in its national parks.

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