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The National Park Service brings you information on geologic time and how we tell the age of the Earth. Learn about fundamental geologic concepts, view a geologic time module, view a video on the Big Ideas in Geoscience, and look at fossils and rocks throughout geologic time.
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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2
Published in 2018
In any science, it is important to accurately and understandably describe your observations for others. Whether for advancing research or informing the public, communicating your work is critical. For geologists, this comes down to describing rocks' colors, patterns, shapes, and other features....
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9
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3
Published in 2018
Common things we use every day, like roads, sidewalks, schools, hospitals, and homes -- to name a few -- are made up of rocks and minerals. As a resource, they are called mineral reserves and include materials like sand, gravel, limestone, granite, and other aggregate and construction materials....
Grade Level   6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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4
Just as your GPS helps you make sure you’re getting from point “a” to point “b” correctly, maps help scientists draw important conclusions and visualize important concepts they study. The right map can help a petroleum engineer find the best drilling site, or help a meteorologist make the...
Grade Level   6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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5
Density is an intrinsic physical property of minerals that relates to the composition of the mineral and to the pattern in which the mineral’s atoms are arranged. “Intrinsic” means that the property is the same for the mineral, no matter what the size or shape of the sample. In this activity,...
Grade Level   6 7 8 9
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6
We find carbon everywhere on Earth ─ in trees, rocks, fossil fuels, oceans, and even you! Carbon doesn’t stay in one place, through. Scientists study how carbon moves from one place to another. This is the carbon cycle. The Industrial Revolution, starting in the 1700s, saw a move to large-scale...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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7
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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8
In this investigation, you will explore the characteristics of various types of rocks. Why are rocks important to citizen scientists? There are a number of reasons. We live on the topmost layer of the Earth, the crust, which is made of solid rock. We also make structures out of this rock, as well as...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8
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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
Locating crucial energy resources involves examining phenomena under, on, and above Earth’s surface. Some of these phenomena change frequently, such as winds. Others, such as oil and coal deposits, are products of long series of geologic processes. Yet all are geographic in nature — they occur...
Grade Level   5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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11
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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12
"The purpose of this activity is to give the player an introduction to the economics of mining. Each player buys """"property,"""" purchases the """"mining equipment,"""" pays for the """"mining operation,"""" and finally pays for the """"reclamation."""" In return, the player receives money for the...
Grade Level   4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
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13
"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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14
"To allow students to produce a """"marketable"""" product made from minerals that are used by most people every day. Both the abrasive and cleansing compounds found in toothpaste, calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate, are minerals. Students make their own toothpastes with different colors and...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6 7 8
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15
Earth scientists play a vital role in harvesting the energy resources on which we all rely. When preparing to drill for oil, for example, geoscientists must assess many aspects of a rock stratum (layer). For example, they must figure out the volume of the rock's pores, or empty spaces, as compared...
Grade Level   7 8 9 10
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16
This activity gives your students a glimpse at the difficulty of seafloor surveying, as well as the challenges the JOIDES Resolution faces during each expedition. Your students also will learn about latitude and longitude and plotting coordinates.
Grade Level   K 1 2 3 4
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17
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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18
Petroleum geologists study Earth's rock layers, looking for places where oil-generating rocks might occur. These geoscientists try to determine whether geologic structures trap the oil in reservoirs which can be drilled and pumped to recover the oil. One such type of trap occurs when rocks have been...
Grade Level   7 8 9 10 11 12
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19
What factors affect how easily a fluid can move through sediments? How is this flow rate connected to oil production? Many people think that oil lies in big pools below Earth's surface. Oil actually is located in the pores within rocks (called “source rocks”). When the pores are...
Grade Level   8 9 10 11 12
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20
Where would we be without petroleum? You can kiss lipstick goodbye! Not only does petroleum provide fuel to run our vehicles, cook our food, heat our homes, and generate electricity, it is also used in plastics, medicines, food items, and countless other products, from aspirin to umbrellas and, yes...
Grade Level   3 4 5 6
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