Soil's Role in Carbon Sequestration

1. The map, “Earth’s Biomes,” shows the locations of 18 types of biomes and their distribution around the world.

Soil, the Forgotten Resource

Soil is often overlooked as a natural resource. Like fossil fuels, we depend on it for energy in the form of foods. And, like fossil fuels, it is nonrenewable. Soil is a delicate balance of inorganic minerals, organic matter, living organisms, soil water, and soil atmosphere. The natural development of soil is an exceedingly slow process. In a few hours, a heavy rain falling on exposed soil can remove inches of what took hundreds of years to form. Here is a simple exercise that will allow you to compare the rates and amounts of erosion that result from various land uses.

Solar Cell Energy Nationwide

MY NASA DATA microsets are created using data from NASA Earth science satellite missions. A microset is a small amount of data extracted from a much larger data file. Data is available on the atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, ocean, and land surface. Data and related lessons can be used with existing curriculum to help students practice science inquiry and math or technology skills using real measurements of Earth system variables and processes. In this activity, students use NASA data to determine areas of the country that are most likely to produce solar energy by analyzing differences in incoming solar radiation graphs.

Solar Updraft Tower

Electricity is the most common type of energy used around the world to power homes and businesses. Traditionally, electricity is generated in power plants that burn coal or oil. These resources have been used at a rapid rate and also give off greenhouse gases, which have contributed to global climate change.

Sources of Minerals

We are surrounded by objects that we depend upon for our everyday lives. From our clothes to our phones, bikes, cars, showers, plates, chairs, televisions, computers, and nearly everything else, we rely on objects made of a variety of materials. But where do those materials come from in the first place, and what happens when we run out of them?

Space Archaeology

Want to be an archaeologist without leaving your school? No problem! Use a computer to become a space archaeologist (no spacesuit required)!

State Soil Investigation

Many states have a designated state bird, flower, fish, tree, rock, and so on. Many states also have a state soil — one that has significance or is important to the state.
The Soil Science Society of America has developed a collection of state soil booklets, designed and written by professional soil scientists from the region to share in-depth information on each state soil. Each soil booklet includes a brief history of

Step by Step Weather Observations

As a citizen scientist, you can take your own air temperatures with an outdoor thermometer and compare your readings to the official ones from the National Weather Service. It is important that you follow the correct procedures, however, for placing your thermometer. This activity will help you to do that, as well as find out what the normal yearly average temperature is for each day.

Surficial Features

Various types of sediments, or “surficial features,” lie above the bedrock in many places. The following activity shows how a visualization map of surficial features can be used to consider the interactions of the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.

Survey Mark Hunting

Geodesy is the science that measures and represents the size and shape of Earth. In the United States, survey reference points are developed and maintained by NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS). In this activity, you will find data on the location and description of survey marks in your area and—if you like—search for them through a variation of geocaching.


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