National Science Education Standard: Life Science
- The characteristics of organisms
- Life cycles of organisms
- Organisms and environments
- Structure and function in living systems
- Reproduction and heredity
- Regulation and behavior
- Populations and ecosystems
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
- The cell
- Molecular basis of heredity
- Biological evolution
- Interdependence of organisms
- Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
- Behavior of organisms
In this activity, students will explore local places with wild elements, such as wildlife refuges. Students also will create maps showing spatial relationships between wild places and school, and they will find creative ways to record experiences.
A refuge is a place where you can record observations of seasonal changes to plants, trees, and wildlife. You can use GPS (global positioning system) data to mark an observation spot and record your observations. Then, if you can, visit the same national wildlife refuge during other seasons in the year to document changes in the natural world.
The five national marine sanctuaries along the West Coast monitor the health of the rocky intertidal ecosystem. One way of doing this is to collect data on the relative abundance of the organisms living in that ecosystem. Since this is such a big task, the national marine sanctuaries are training students in how to follow standardized protocols to help with the monitoring. The information collected is added to an online database that the sanctuaries use to collect baseline data and track long-term changes in the environment. This activity will allow you to learn the sampling techniques used in the field by these citizen scientists who participate in LiMPETS.
Learn about fossil preservation, paleontology, and stratigraphy in this detailed activity from the USGS.
Pretend to be a biologist as you 'discover' a new mollusc species and work to determine it's characteristics and habitat.
Students can monitor local ozone by looking in their neighborhoods for ozone-injured plants or establishing similar gardens outside their schools or in their backyards.
This activity from the Environmental Protection Agency will give children the opportunity to see how changes in sea level effect coastlines, animal life, and community development.
Discover more about soil properties in this excellent outdoor activity from the National Park Service!
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.
Paleontologists are the geoscientists who discover and study fossil evidence of past life. Sometimes they even find the footprints of dinosaurs that roamed the surface of the Earth long ago. Ever wonder how paleontologists are able to determine, based on fossil evidence, whether a particular dinosaur was walking or running when it left footprints behind? These two activities will help you to learn how these scientists can do that.