Have you ever seen a fossil? A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in sediments or rocks. Do you think you could have dinosaur fossils in your family car’s gas tank? Did you ever hear that oil and natural gas are “fossil fuels”? Do you think oil and natural gas can be made from fossils? How long do you think it takes fossil fuel to form?
Human activities can have a detrimental effect on animal habitats. Young students can witness the effect of water pollution on river habitats.
You may be familiar with ice cubes in your favorite soda, but do you know there are very big ice cubes (scientists call them glaciers) hundreds to thousands of meters thick, lying in places
with high mountains? These glaciers shaped beautiful landscapes all around the world — from Glacier National Park to Yosemite, from Patagonia in South America to the Himalayas in Asia.
How is the world connected to the pencil you hold in your hand? Complete this activity to find out.
Google’s Street View is a rich resource for exploring geoheritage, since it visually transports us to many impressive sites across the country and around the world. Street View allows you to investigate a site, even one you don’t know well, which can lead to important insights. Of course, the real power and fun of Street View is that it allows you to explore by moving your visual perspective around the image.
This activity will have students collect data, graph it, and compare the information to what they already know about radioactive elements and dating the planet's age.
Unraveling time and the Earth's biologic history are arguably geology's most important contributions to humanity. Yet it is very difficult for humans to appreciate time beyond that of one or two generations, much less hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of years. Perhaps we can only hope that students catch glimpses of our rich geologic heritage, particularly when most of our teaching is done in a classroom and not in a field setting. This exercise begins to make time more "three dimensional" and most importantly, students gain a better appreciation for geologic time and our Earth's history.
What adventures await you as a student of the Earth sciences?
Learn how oil rigs work in this activity from the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Geographic information systems (GIS) are mapping and analysis tools that people use in all walks of life. GIS is problem-solving technology, for careers in research, policy-making, and production — in government agencies, non-profit groups, and for-profit companies, from global to local levels. Learn about GIS careers with ESRI.