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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
Geologic time can be difficult for people to understand. Our own lives are so short when we compare them to the age of the Earth, that the hundreds of millions of years of geologic time are almost too much to grasp. But for us to understand Earth activities today, we must have at least some basic...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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3
Published in 2005
Students have the opportunity to take a core sample of their local soil. Using PVC piping, a section of soil is pulled up, allowing students to observe the soil's different layers. Those layers are then separated and identified. The identification process helps students understand what elements make...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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4
Scientists, engineers, and others create geologic maps to determine the best places for people to settle, build, farm, and use land in a variety of ways. They also use geologic maps to monitor the ways that human activity might be changing the land itself over time. As the Geologic Map of Karst in...
Grade Level   6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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5
Landslides not only are dangerous — causing on average more than 25 deaths and over ¤1 billion in damages a year — but are also widespread, occurring in all 50 states. Compounding the hazards, these natural disasters often occur along with other similar natural phenomena, such as floods...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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6
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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7
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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8
"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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9
"""""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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10
"There are many glaciers all over Alaska. Flying into Lake Clark National Park and Preserve through Lake Clark Pass, you will see many glaciers. These glaciers were growing during the last Ice Age. Now many are retreating because Alaska is getting warmer. As the glaciers melt they leave behind...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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11
"Unraveling time and the Earth's biologic history are arguably geology's most important contributions to humanity. Yet it is very difficult for humans to appreciate time beyond that of one or two generations, much less hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of years. Perhaps we can only hope...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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12
"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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13
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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14
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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15
The JOIDES Resolution (JR) has physical dimensions unlike most oceangoing vessels. Why? So that scientists can sail nearly anywhere in the world to drill for samples of rocks and sediment from below the seafloor — in hopes of discovering clues about Earth’s history and structure, life in the...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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16
How do geologists understand the Earth’s history? In part, they measure the age of rocks and other natural materials by dating techniques. They can date rocks by gauging the amount of decay of radioactive elements. The time necessary for half of any given amount of one element (the “parent...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9
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17
Core samples are small portions of a formation taken from an existing well and used for geologic analysis. The sample is analyzed to determine porosity, permeability, fluid content, geologic age, and probable productivity of oil from the site. Drilling is the only way to be sure that oil and gas...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9
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18
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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19
"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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20
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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