Engineer a Satellite

Engineer a Satellite Activity Source: NASA. Adapted with permission. Is the ozone hole getting smaller? How much rain is in the cloud of a hurricane? How much sea ice is melting in the Arctic? For over 50 years, NASA scientists have been asking questions and collecting data from space-based satellites to study Earth’s changing environment. Engineers and scientists are essential partners in this process. From the scientists’ questions, engineers help design instruments to get the measurements needed to help answer these questions. [Read More]

Exploring Geoheritage From Space

Exploring Geoheritage From Space Activity Source: Adapted with permission by NASA. Great images of geoheritage sites can be found everywhere. But no one holding a camera on Earth can “back away” far enough to get the extraordinary perspective captured by NASA satellites. In celebration of Earth Science Week 2016, NASA’s Earth Observatory has created a special collection of images and articles showcasing geoheritage sites in America’s National Parks. Two such sites are Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho) and Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas). [Read More]

Make Your Own Compass

Make Your Own Compass Activity Source: Adapted with permission by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from Discover Your World with NOAA: An Activity Book Background In ancient times, sailors found their way by observing stars and other celestial bodies — when they were visible through the clouds, that is. Thus, one of the most important improvements to ocean navigation was the invention of the compass. There is some disagreement about who should get credit for this invention. [Read More]

Making Earth Art With Google Earth

Making Earth Art With Google Earth Activity Source: Google. Adapted with permission. If you were an alien visiting Earth for the first time, you might remark on the diverse and incredible landscapes and patterns around majestic mountains, green forests, rolling grasslands, and turquoise oceans. You also might recognize geometries of civilization and changing weather patterns. All this can be explored from space. In this activity you will explore our planet using Google Earth and locate natural and man-made patterns and landscapes on Earth’s surface that inspire you. [Read More]

Map-Making Basics

Map-Making Basics Activity Source: U.S. Geological Survey, 2006. Adapted with permission. Background Maps are two-dimensional ways of representing information about the natural and built world from a “top-down” perspective. You are probably familiar with road maps that show where roads go and which roads intersect with others and where. You also may have seen weather maps, which show weather patterns across a specific geographic area, or political maps, which show where borders are for countries and areas within those countries. [Read More]

Places on the Planet: Latitude and Longitude

Places on the Planet: Latitude and Longitude Activity Source: Geological Society of America, 2006. Adapted with permission. Background You may have seen or used Global Positioning System (GPS) devices in cars or on camping trips. These devices use data from satellites orbiting the Earth to locate places on our planet. GPS devices describe the locations to us in the form of latitude and longitude coordinates. Citizen scientists involved in the Geological Society of America’s EarthCaching project (http://www. [Read More]

Plant an Ozone Monitoring Garden

Plant an Ozone Monitoring Garden Activity Source: Adapted with permission from NASA Aura Education and Public Outreach. To measure ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere, NASA built the approximately 6,500-pound Aura satellite. The spacecraft carries four high-tech instruments that scan the globe from more than 700 kilometers above the planet. For students, there is an easy way to investigate ozone in their own neighborhood. It’s as simple as growing a few carefully selected plants. [Read More]

Space Archaeology

Space Archaeology Activity Source: Archaeological Institute of America. Adapted with permission. Want to be an archaeologist without leaving your school? No problem! Use a computer to become a space archaeologist (no spacesuit required)! Archaeologists are using remote sensing techniques to find archaeological sites with greater accuracy than ever before. Remote sensing refers to a variety of non-intrusive techniques that can be used to create detailed images of the Earth’s surface and record sub-surface features. [Read More]

Third From the Sun

Third From the Sun Activity Source: “Third From the Sun,” University of California at Berkeley, 2001. Adapted with permission. Background Since our beginnings, we humans have had a narrow view of our home - Earth. For many years, standing on the ground and looking around or climbing a mountain and squinting down were the most useful ways people had of trying to understand the planet’s surface. Only in the past few hundred years have we been able to better understand what the planet really looks like. [Read More]

Traveling Nitrogen

Traveling Nitrogen Activity Source: Windows to the Universe. Adapted with permission. Nitrogen is an element that is found both in living things and the nonliving parts of the Earth system. In this classroom activity, students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle to gain understanding of the varied pathways through the cycle and how nitrogen is relevant to living things. For the teacher: To prepare, set up nitrogen reservoir stations around the classroom (or outside). [Read More]