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Cracked Plates & Tectonics

In this activity, you’ll investigate dynamics in Earth’s crust that explain multiple Earth science phenomena.

Dangerous Atmosphere

How much of a danger does severe weather pose for the area where you live? You can compute the answer yourself in this exercise.

Dating Popcorn

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. You can simulate the dating process with popcorn.

Deep-Sea Drilling

This activity enables students to estimate and calculate scales of distance and length as used by ocean drilling scientists.

Density of Minerals

Density is an intrinsic physical property of minerals that relates to the composition of the mineral and to the pattern in which the mineral’s atoms are arranged. “Intrinsic” means that the property is the same for the mineral, no matter what the size or shape of the sample. In this activity, students will measure and compare the densities of minerals.

Determining Mineral Reserves

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.

Digging Into Soil

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

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.

Earth and Ancient Architecture

Architects and engineers often design and build structures inspired by the earth’s natural formations and shapes. This was also true for the ancient builders that built pyramidal structures and platforms with broad bases and tapered sides, inspired in most cases by the hills and mountains they saw around them. While many societies built them, pyramids and platforms across different cultures were not all alike, differing in shape, function, and construction materials, and techniques.

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