Earth's Place in the Universe (ESS1)
A Model of Three Faults
One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is a sudden movement of the Earth, caused by the abrupt release of strain that has accumulated over a long time. For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate tectonics have shaped the Earth as the huge plates that form the Earth's surface slowly move over, under and past each other. Sometimes the movement is gradual. At other times, the plates are locked together, unable to release the accumulating energy. When the accumulated energy grows strong enough, the plates break free. If the earthquake occurs in a populated area, it may cause many deaths and injuries and extensive property damage.
A Paste with a Taste
To allow students to produce a "marketable" product made from minerals that are used by most people every day. Both the abrasive and cleansing compounds found in toothpaste, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, are minerals.
Any evidence of past life preserved in a geologic context, such as within rock or sediment, is called a fossil. In this activity you will work as a paleontologist — a scientist who studies fossils to understand ancient landscapes, climate, and life on Earth — to find and identify fossils.
Chocolate Rock Cycle
How sweet is this activity? It’s an introduction to the rock cycle using chocolate!
Connecting With Nature
Go on an adventure with the Blue Goose, the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System!
Drilling is the only way to be sure that oil and gas fields exist and exactly what is present in the formation. Core samples reveal the physical and chemical nature of the rock. In this activity, you will create a model formation and “drill” for samples.
Cupcake Core Sampling
Trying to "see" what is beneath the surface of the Earth is one of the jobs of a geologist. Rather than digging up vast tracts of land to expose an oil field or to find some coal-bearing strata, core samples can be taken and analyzed to determine the likely composition of the Earth's interior. In this activity, students model core sampling techniques to find out what sort of layers are in a cupcake.
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.
This activity enables students to estimate and calculate scales of distance and length as used by ocean drilling scientists.
Dig Into Soil
Learn how soil scientists observe and record data and how that information is useful to farmers, builders, and others in order to use the land appropriately.