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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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2
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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3
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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4
"""""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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5
"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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6
"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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7
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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8
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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9
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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10
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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11
"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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12
The JOIDES Resolution is an amazing ship that contains all the equipment necessary to drill into the ocean floor for samples of rock and sediment: a derrick, drill pipe, drilling tools, and drill bits. Once the cylindrical core sample arrives on the rig floor, the drill crew passes the 10 m core to...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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13
Raindrops contain more than just water. In addition to the small particles of dust around which water drops form, raindrops can contain chemicals found in the atmosphere. Often rain is slightly acidic. This “acid rain” can chemically affect (weather) materials it touches. The amount of...
Grade Level   6 7 8 9 10
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14
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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15
Sinkholes are natural depressions in the land caused when limestone and soils dissolve. They form when groundwater removes rock underground. They can form by slow gradual sinking or by sudden collapse of an underlying hole. Sinkholes are common in about one quarter of the U.S. You can usually...
Grade Level   6 7 8 9 10
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16
We usually think of caves forming as rocks are dissolved and the particles are washed away, leaving hollow spaces behind. This activity simulates the way that dissolution, a chemical weathering process, leads to the formation of caves. When precipitation such as rainwater or snowmelt mixes with...
Grade Level   7 8 9 10 11 12
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17
In this investigation, you'll have the opportunity to learn about the many geological features in our country's national parks. You might not realize this, but a large number of the national parks were created because of their amazing geology. Just think of the geological features of Yellowstone...
Grade Level   6 7 8
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18
An earthquake occurs when massive rock layers slide past each other. This motion makes enormous vibrations, which travel from the site of the earthquake in waves. The waves (seismic waves) travel all the way through the Earth. Seismologists can record these waves when they reach Earth's surface...
Grade Level   6 7 8 9 10
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19
One of the most frightening and destructive phenomena of nature is a severe earthquake and its terrible aftereffects. An earthquake is a sudden movement of the Earth, caused by the abrupt release of strain that has accumulated over a long time. For hundreds of millions of years, the forces of plate...
Grade Level   7 8 9 10 11 12
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