In this activity, students examine a photograph of the night sky and answer questions about their observations. The picture, taken by a high school student in upstate New York, offers insight into the Earth's rotation, apparent star motion, the location of Polaris (the North Star), circumpolar constellations, and pointer stars.
Students will complete this survey that determines their personal and household contributions to atmospheric Carbon dioxide by using information about their previous year's consumption. They will understand that Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, and that its production can be minimized by taking personal steps to conserve.
This activity consists of two parts in which students investigate heat transfer by radiation and by conduction. In the first part, students design and conduct an experiment to test the effect of color on an object's ability to radiate energy (heat). In the second part, they investigate the transfer of energy from a hotter object to a cooler one, in this case, containers of hot and cold water. In both experiments, they are required to state a hypothesis, make a list of materials and procedures needed for the experiment, collect and graph data, and state a conclusion. Each experiment is accompanied by a set of analysis and conclusion questions.
In this demonstration, the teacher will use a potato and hydrogen peroxide to generate oxygen in a closed environment. Students can then observe its effects on a burning wooden splint and on burning steel wool. They will understand that a large amount of energy can be released by the process of oxidation. As an extension, the teacher can discuss how the appearance of oxygen (produced by cyanobacteria) in Earth's early atmosphere initially resulted in the formation of large deposits of iron oxide (Banded Iron Formations) and then aided in the evolution of more complex life forms.
Climographs, graphic plots of monthly temperature and precipitation, allow students to see how differences in insolation at various locations affect rates of heating and cooling. In this activity, students use climographs to plot locations using latitude and longitude, calculate annual temperature ranges, and relate unequal rates of heating and cooling to climate variations. They will also construct climographs for two locations in New York, analyze them, and answer questions about their observations.
In this activity, students construct three-dimensional models from terrain information provided by two-dimensional topographic maps. This will allow them to visualize how changes in elevation over a certain distance can be represented on a flat piece of paper that can be folded up and tucked away. Each group is responsible for constructing a model of Mount St. Helens 'before' and 'after', a depression, a stream, and a hill. Discussion questions related to the different representations are also included.
In this activity, students construct a magnetometer. A materials list and instructions are provided.
The relationship between mass, volume, and density is explored using chocolate. The mass and volume of solid chocolate bars, liquid chocolate, and small chocolate pieces are determined and used to compute density for comparison. The activity includes a worksheet that allows students to report their findings and infer density changes as a material goes from solid to liquid to gas.
In this activity, students measure the densities of samples of granite, basalt, peridotite/dunite, and an iron meteorite, which are used as representatives of the various layers of the Earth (crust, mantle, core). The samples are weighed to determine their mass, and the Archimedes Principle is used to determine volume. From these two properties, they calculate density, compare it to accepted values presented in the discussion, and answer questions about their observations.
This lesson provides experience working on a real-life scenario by allowing students the opportunity to use topographic maps to design a hiking trail system based on access from road, range of habitats, and other specified criteria. They will also complete a data sheet and produce an informational brochure.
In this experiment, students explore the diffraction of light into different wavelengths (colors) by using a diffraction grating and shoe box to create and measure a visible spectrum. The concepts of diffraction, electromagnetic waves, wavelength, and the electromagnetic spectrum are introduced. The activity also includes a discussion of red shift, blue shift, and the Doppler effect. Information about solar radiation and the roles of stratospheric and tropospheric ozone is included.
In this activity, students play the roles of "time travel agents" creating an advertisement for a geologic time period which has been assigned to them. They will use the Earth Science Reference Tables (available on the internet) to learn some basic facts about their assigned period. A rubric for assessing student understanding is provided.
This activity uses the free software 'Seismic Eruption' to visualize seismicity and volcanic activity in space and time and to explore the relationship of earthquakes and volcanic activiy to plate tectonics. Students run simulations on the Pacific coasts of South America and California and the mid-oceanic ridge in the Atlantic Ocean, answer questions, and construct a cross-section. A link to download the software is provided.
In this activity, students conduct experiments using an egg and a graduated cylinder filled with liquids of different densities. By observing how different densities affect the egg's position in the cylinder, they can draw important connections to the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.
Most orbiting bodies follow a path that is an ellipse. In this activity, students construct 2 ellipses, and examine and measure them to determine some of their fundamental properties. The exercise helps learners make comparisons to planetary orbit eccentricities, and includes guidelines for constructing a scale model of Haley's comet.
In this activity, students critically analyze prior conceptions and textbook visuals of the relative sizes and orbiting distance of the Earth-moon system (and other bodies in our solar system), search out sources for this data, and construct scale models by using balls of various sizes. There are tips for helping learners understand the large scales (i.e., millions rather than thousands) that characterize our solar system, and examples are provided of scaling using different sizes of athletic balls.
In this activity, students investigate how pressure affects the temperature of air and how this relates to the formation of clouds in the troposphere. They will form a cloud in a bottle, find the dew point and relative humidity of air at different places in the school and use a chart to estimate how high that air would have to rise to form a cloud.
In this activity, students use a National Weather Service flood forecast, USGS gauging data, and other reports to estimate the maximum storm discharge from the New River and Wolf Creek, two streams in the Southeast U.S. which experienced flooding in November 2003. Topographic and urban maps are used to predict where flooding would occur and to evaluate strategies for reducing flood risk for the residents of the region.
In this activity, students examine a photo and map of Manhattan, New York, to determine the date the photo was taken. The activity provides opportunities for discussing seasons, equinoxes, and the apparent position of the Sun throughout the year. Links to additional information are embedded in the text.
In this activity, students investigate how the atmosphere changes with altitude. They will obtain atmospheric data for locations of their choosing using online resources, graph it, and examine it to answer questions about changes in temperature, pressure, humidity, and dewpoint with altitude.
In this activity, students investigate data from Hurricane Ivan, the September 2004 storm that devastated the Caribbean Islands and the Alabama Gulf Coast before looping across Florida and back into the Gulf of Mexico, where it regenerated into a new storm system. They will analyze data on the storm's location, windspeed, and barometric pressure, develop study questions, and map the hurricane's position at selected intervals.
In this investigation, students locate a round or spherical naturally-occurring rock and take notes about its location and their reasons for selecting it. After measuring the rock and assessing some of its properties, they will answer a series of questions to determine the type of environment that would create a round rock, as well as the different types of weathering and components of the rock's internal structure that might contribute to its shape.
In this activity, students identify spirals and other shapes present in nature and discuss at what sizes or scales these shapes exist. Examples include a hurricane, foraminifera, nautilus, and a galaxy. They will discuss the differences and similarities of each of these spirals and investigate the powers of ten that identify the scales at which these different examples exist.
This experiment uses the heating of water to explore the concepts of density and volume. Students learn about the transfer of heat energy within the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and Earth's interior, and connect this transfer to differences in density, which in turn result in motion. As part of the investigation, students will also become familiar with the Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales.
In this activity, students organize a set of fossils chronologically and learn to correlate, based on fossil evidence, the stratigraphy of one location with that of an adjacent location. Earth Science Reference Tables are used to identify the epoch of occurrence and the age of each of the fossil specimens. Students will become familiar with the concept of index fossils and understand what makes a good index fossil.
This exercise was designed to address student misconceptions about why the Moon exhibits phases. Using a sketchbook, digital camera, or flex cam, a student sits at the center of a darkened room illuminated by a single light source in a stationary position. Stools are set up surrounding the student in the center and other students take those positions, always keeping their faces toward the center. The center student sketches or take pictures of the faces at each of the positions. Substituting a sphere (such as a ball) for the students' faces provides an even more vivid illustration of the shadowing of the sphere and connects directly to the rationale for lunar phases.
Students study magnetic field by using a classroom-made magnetometer. They use iron filings to reveal the magnetic field lines and record their observations on a sketch map.
Students simulate operating an iron mine, from choosing property to writing an environmental impact statement to setting up the mining operation. Chocolate chip cookies (with the chocolate chips representing iron ore) are used for this experiment. Students are challenged to operate the most profitable and environmentally sound mine they can.
In this activity, candy models are used to demonstrate the features of the Earth, including its internal structure and layers. Students learn why models are essential in Earth science and answer questions about how their candy models do and do not compare with the actual Earth.
In this activity, students play the roles of detectives investigating the loss of a city's water supply by evaporation. They will design an experiment to see whether heat or wind causes the greater loss of water, conduct the experiment, and write a report detailing their findings.
The Adirondack Mountains tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth Tours, created by a group of New York State science educators. This tour provides an introduction to the geology of the Great Range and the High Peaks as viewed from Algonquin Peak. It also addresses the issue of acid rain, which is a persistent environmental concern in the Adirondacks.
The Allegheny Plateau tours are part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth Tours, created by a group of New York State science educators. These tours showcase examples of Allegheny geology, including the geomorphology of glacial features near Tully, New York, southern Cayuga Lake, the geology and geomorphology of Letchworth State Park and its waterfalls, as well as waterfalls and creeks in the Ithaca Gorges. Schoharie Creek can be toured from its mouth to its source, the St. Lawrence Chesapeake and Valley Heads Moraine can be investigated to examine drainage patterns, and another tour investigates the unique geology and ecology of the Rome Sand Plains. Environmental tours also address the 2006 flooding in the Allegheny Plateau near Port Jarvis and Livingston Manor and provide an overview of the water supply system of the City of New York.
- Forestry and Agriculture
- Space Science
- Material Type:
- UCAR Staff
- Provider Set:
- New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
- Bob Dedrick
- Eric Fermann
- Kevin Finerghty
- Peter Wilder
- Robert DeMarco
- Tim Brisley
- Walter Potocki
- Date Added:
The Atlantic Coastal Plain tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth Tours, created by a group of New York State science educators. This tour introduces students to glacial erratics on Long Island, the Ronkonkoma terminal moraine, and the Rock Hill erratic. Coastal erosion and deposition can be studied by viewing dunes, beaches, and wave cut banks.
The Champlain Lowlands tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth tours, created by a group of New York State science educators. This tour includes views of the gorge of the Ausable River, cut through Late Cambrian Potsdam Sandstone, and the geology of the Champlain Thrust Fault, a low angle thrust fault formed as the proto-Atlantic Ocean closed during the Taconic Oregeny. When it was still connected to the ocean, Lake Champlain was home to whales, whose fossils are now entombed in the lake sediments. The tour also includes classroom activities for students.
The Erie Ontario Lowlands tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth tours. This tour includes glacial history, features, and views of Niagara Falls, the Niagara Escarpment, current and former spillways, and the locks at Lockport, New York. Students can also learn about the geology and glacial history of Canandaigua Lake, one of New York's Finger Lakes, which discharges into the Lowlands. There is also a lab activity in which students analyze maps, images, and information to perform an environmental assessment of the Cascade Mill development.
The Hudson Highlands tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth Tours, created by a group of New York State science educators. This tour introduces Hudson Highlands geology, including glaciology at Bear Mountain, views of the Highlands, and the Ramapo Fault to the south. It also offers other information about the area, including some animals, New York City's water supply, and the Great Swamp.
The Hudson Mohawk Lowlands tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth tours, created by a group of New York State science educators. This tour introduces students to limestone quarrying along the western shore of the Hudson River south of Catskill, New York. They can follow the courses of the Mohawk River and Erie Canal eastward to the Cohoes Falls and the confluence of the Mohawk with the Hudson River. It also provides a look at issues involved with the cleanup of PCB-laden sediments in the Hudson River.
The Newark Lowlands tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth Tours created by a group of New York State science educators. This tour lets students see the Ramapo Fault at the Lowlands' northwestern boundary and the Palisades Sill on the western shore of the Hudson River. The Sparkill Gap, a pre-Ice Age weak spot in the Palisades Sill through which the Hudson River once flowed, can be observed. There is also an activity in which students explore the economic, social, and environmental issues associated with constructing the Tappan Zee Bridge over the Hudson River.
The St. Lawrence Lowlands tour is part of the New York Landscape Regions Collection of Google Earth Tours. This tour allows students to explore the Thousand Islands, formed of granite which has withstood the erosive energy of the St. Lawrence River, creating thousands of islands ranging in size from single rocks to over 25 square miles. There is also an activity in which students map some of the many shipwrecks that have accumulated at the entrance to the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The Taconic Mountains tour highlights the geology and natural environment of several landscape regions, including the structure of the Highlands Province basement rocks, which were affected by the Taconic Orogeny. Students can view biotite-rich schists and the tight isoclinic folds of the Walloomsac Formation, as well as the Taconic angular unconformity at the south end of Becraft Mountain. Bedding thrusts are also evident within the Roundout Formation and overlying Manlius Formation. They can also examine metamorphosed Briarcliff Dolostone containing yellow, white and black chert layers and Everett Phylite, which represents a metamorphic lithologic transition from slate to phyllite. Dramatically folded calcareous rocks are visible at the Bennington, Vermont bypass, and students can also view Stark's Knob, where pillow lavas formed as Ordovician basalts erupted under the waters of a shallow sea.