Connect the Spheres

Connect the Spheres Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. This activity will provide you with an introduction to a series of lessons — Survivor Earth — about water resources on Earth. You’ll investigate Earth systems by making observations in nature and identifying systems in the natural world. Ultimately, you will understand how the four spheres, or systems, on Earth — biosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere — are interconnected. [Read More]

Dangerous Atmosphere

Dangerous Atmosphere Activity Source: Adapted with permission by The Weather Channel. Background How much of a danger does severe weather pose for the area where you live? You can compute the answer yourself in the exercise below. You may want to divide up tasks 6-13, one per student, and then compare results. Materials A computer with Internet access Paper and pen to record findings Procedure 1. Identify your state and county. [Read More]

Greenhouse in a Beaker

Greenhouse in a Beaker Activity Source: Adapted with permission by The NEED Project. Carbon is naturally found in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, or CO2, itself is not considered a pollutant. The CO2 being released from burning fossil fuels was part of the atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago before being captured by plants and sea organisms. Carbon atoms naturally cycle through the biosphere, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the lithosphere in process known as the carbon cycle. [Read More]

Leaf It to Me

Leaf It to Me Activity Source: Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Adapted with permission. In the water cycle, there are two ways water moves from the ground to the atmosphere: evaporation and transpiration. During evaporation, water changes from a liquid to a gas state. Transpiration is basically evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration accounts for about 10 percent of the moisture in the atmosphere — with oceans, seas, and other bodies of water providing nearly all the rest. [Read More]

Mapping the Atmosphere

Mapping the Atmosphere Activity Source: American Meteorological Society. Adapted with permission. A map can represent data from an area on a flat surface. The part of our Earth system most frequently mapped is the atmosphere. Weather—the state of the atmosphere at a particular place and time—needs constant monitoring because it perpetually changes as weather systems evolve and move. Awareness of what the weather is and is likely to be has numerous benefits. [Read More]

Nitrogen Connection

Nitrogen Connection Activity Source: Adapted with permission by Soil Science Society of America. All biological organisms require certain nutrients to live. Plants require carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from air and water, as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, nickel, chloride, boron, and molybdenum from soil. Animals require a few others. Conversions and transformations of nutrients in the environment result from chemical reactions, biological activity, or both. [Read More]

Ocean Acidification

Ocean Acidification Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The ocean is a “carbon sink,” which means that it removes CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere. The ocean currently absorbs about one-third of the CO2 released by the burning of fossil fuels. However, beyond a certain level of atmospheric CO2, the ocean can no longer act as a carbon sink without it having a negative impact on marine life. [Read More]

Tropical Atlantic Aerosols

Tropical Atlantic Aerosols Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Aeronautics and Space Administration. MY NASA DATA ( makes NASA Earth science data accessible to K-12 teachers and students, as well as citizen scientists. You can use the data and lessons with your existing science curriculum. The investigations will help you to practice science inquiry and math or technology skills using real measurements of Earth system variables and processes. MY NASA DATA microsets are created using data from NASA Earth science satellite missions. [Read More]


What-a-Cycle Activity Source: Adapted with permission by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Water moves from Earth’s surface to the atmosphere and then returns to the surface. This process is nearly always depicted in water cycle diagrams by arrows drawn in a circular direction. However, the actual path water may take in its cycle is far more complicated. In this activity, you will discover multiple cycles by acting as water molecules and traveling through parts of the overall water cycle. [Read More]