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Published in 2018
What’s an awe-inspiring natural feature in your state? Maybe it’s a mountain, canyon, waterfall, glacier, cave, volcano, geyser, natural arch, grand vista, or something else. Identify an inspiring landscape near you, and learn about the geoscience behind it. Start with the geologic maps...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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2
The ocean is the key element in Earth's hydrologic cycle (water cycle). Students will construct a simple model of the hydrologic cycle to help them visualize and understand the movement of liquid water and heat. The hydrologic cycle is the continual movement of water from one place to another and...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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3
Published in 2018
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. The...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
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4
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...
Grade Level   4 5 6 7 8 9
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5
Human beings have been linked to earth materials since prehistoric times. They used caves for shelter, shaped rocks into stone implements, and later refined metals to make tools. Beyond practical purposes, Earth materials also were used to make pigments for paint. Rock walls became canvases where...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8
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6
A normal fault occurs when rocks break and move because they are being pulled apart. As the area is stretched, the rocks move along the fault. Each movement causes an earthquake. This model demonstrates how a block of rock is extended by a normal fault. 
Grade Level   4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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7
"Water that accumulates beneath the surface of the Earth is called groundwater. Contrary to popular belief, groundwater does not form underground """"rivers,"""" but is actually found in the small spaces and cracks between rocks and other material such as sand and gravel. Groundwater supplies about...
Grade Level   4 5 6 7 8 9
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8
"""""Thar's gold in them thar classrooms!"""" History meets Earth science in the fun, hands-on activity below. Students pan for gold and other minerals, experiencing what early settlers of the Western US went through. Some gold deposits, or lodes, are found in veins of fractured rock. After millions...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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9
"Have you ever seen a fossil? A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in sediments or rocks. Do you think you could have dinosaur fossils in your family car’s gas tank? Did you ever hear that oil and natural gas are “fossil fuels”? Do you think oil and natural gas can be made from...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8
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10
In Swords into Plowshares: At Home in a Missile Silo, Tony Crossley says of his underground home: “The winters are bitterly cold, the summers feature spectacular afternoon thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes, and throughout the year we get days when the wind is very strong. Underground it’s...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
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11
A fossil is any evidence of past life preserved in a geologic context, such as within rock or sediment. This activity allows you to explore the process used by paleontologists — scientists who study fossils to understand ancient landscapes, climate, and life on Earth — to find and identify...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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12
This activity lists materials needed (for home and school use) in case of emergency or natural disaster. Following a natural hazard, basic services – electricity, water, gas, telephones – may be cut off for days. Or, you may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice. You probably won’t have time...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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13
"The """"Blue Goose"""" has been the symbol of the National Wildlife Refuge System since it was first drawn by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist J.N. """"Ding"""" Darling, one of the greatest supporters of wildlife conservation in the 20th century. Naturalist and author Rachel Carson had a reminder...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8
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14
This activity allows students to experience what rocks and minerals go through during the rock cycle. The activity explains how to manipulate chocolate using heated water and a knife into different states representing metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks. Chocolate can be ground into small...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8
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15
"Mining is a complex process in which valuable or useful materials are removed from large masses of rock. In this activity, students use birdseed and colored beads to mine for """"precious metals"""" and """"gold."""" At th end of the activity, students can count up their winnings. The students gain...
Grade Level   4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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16
This activity teaches the student to identify minerals by observing and testing the physical properties of each mineral. Have students compare their test results with the Mineral Identification Sheet.
Grade Level   4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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17
Rocks break down into smaller pieces through weathering. Rocks and sediment grinding against each other wear away surfaces. This type of weathering is called abrasion, and it happens as wind and water rush over rocks. The rocks become smoother as rough and jagged edges break off. In this activity,...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6
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18
"Crucial to our existence, water sustains all life on Earth. Following the old adage, """"""""What goes around comes around-"""""""" water moves continuously through the stages of the hydrologic cycle (evaporation, condensation, and precipitation). How does our drinking water fit into this...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4
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19
In this activity, students observe real fossils. The fossils are then used to make moulds. After the moulds dry, students can practice looking for the fossils by picking them out of a hardened mud mixture. Aster the activity, students should discuss how fossils are formed, where they can be found,...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4
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20
If you leave water on while brushing your teeth, you might be a water waster! Students collect water while brushing their teeth. Multiplying the amount of water collected by the number of people in their household gives an estimate of how much water is being wasted. This concept can even be applied...
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4
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