In this lesson, students learn about the Japanese festival celebrating the appearance of cherry blossoms in the spring and analyze average bloom date data from over 1000 years of records to understand how climate has changed.
Air pollution takes many forms - from particles of soot large enough to see, to individual molecules of ozone and nitrogen oxides. Air quality measurements let people know when the amounts of pollutants pose a health risk. This teaching box is filled with educational resources that help students explore the science of, and solutions to, air pollution.
Students analyze cloud data from a storm that crossed the United States in late November 2019. They identify cloud types from photos of the sky in various locations to identify the zonation of clouds across a cold and warm front.
The amount of CO2 is increasing, which has an impact on global climate. In this lesson, students will investigate some of the ways CO2 gets into and out of the atmosphere, and how this process might affect the overall balance in our world.
Recent climate change is already having impacts - from melting Arctic sea ice and glaciers, to the lack of rainfall in the southwest and central United States, and the impacts of sea level rise on coasts worldwide. This teaching box is filled with explorations and readings that help secondary students learn how climate change is affecting the water cycle.
In this lesson, students are introduced to the effects a major volcanic eruption has on the atmosphere through recent and historical images and videos and by exploring a simple model. They will learn about atmospheric change that causes a reduction in light to Earth’s surface and how this contributes to climate change.
Digital Teaching Boxes are online collections of classroom-ready and standards-aligned activities, content, and multimedia that build student understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Ice is slippery, sometimes causing cars and trucks to skid out of control. This activity allows students to safely explore these icy conditions in the classroom and develop their own hypotheses and experiments.
Students develop an understanding of the dynamic and variable nature of the Sun by comparing and contrasting images that vary with respect to time, scale, or technology, and share their findings with peers. The class discusses the implications of the Sun as a variable force of nature and brainstorms a list of questions that have been raised by the comparison of images. During the following class period, the instructor facilitates a slide show to further student understanding of the dynamic processes of our Sun and offer explanations to student questions.
Students learn about the urban heat island effect by investigating which areas of their schoolyard have higher temperatures. Then they analyze data about how the number of heat waves in an urban area has increased over time with population.
In this activity, students gather information about atmospheric scientific field projects in order to understand how a research question about the Earth system can be answered by collecting data using many different research platforms and instruments.
Flash floods happen when quick and heavy rainfall causes placid waterways to turn into raging torrents. This teaching box is filled with explorations and readings that help secondary students learn the science of flash flooding. Students will learn that storms with unusually heavy rainfall can cause a flood, that the shape of the land and the ability of the ground to hold water influences whether a flood is likely, and they will learn how flash flood risk and probability is assessed. Get your feet wet by bringing the science of flash floods.
Students review illustrations, maps, cross-sections, and graphs that tell a piece of the story about the effects of clouds on climate. They answer "True and False" questions about each visual and discuss what they take away from the information.
This teaching box provides resources related to the greenhouse effect. It will help you teach how the greenhouse effect works, and how it prevents Earth from becoming a frozen ball of ice, and why there is too much of it happening today.
This Greenhouse Gas Game enables students to interact with each other as they learn about the heat-trapping properties of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. They learn that human actions are altering the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Teams explore how long it takes to reach the top of the Temperature Tracker based on human activity, with the winner taking the longest to reach the top of the Temperature Tracker.
Hurricane Resilience is a 20-day high school environmental science curriculum for use in coastal locations where hurricanes are common and helps students make connections between the science of hurricanes, how they affect their community and region, and how we can plan for a more resilient future.
In this activity, students will construct models of the arrangement of water molecules in the three physical states. Students will understand that matter can be found in three forms or phases (solid, liquid, and gas).
Students receive data about tree ring records, solar activity, and volcanic eruptions during the Little Ice Age (AD 1350–1850). By comparing and contrasting time intervals when tree growth was at a minimum, solar activity was low, and major volcanic eruptions occurred, they draw conclusions about possible natural causes of climate change.
Students brainstorm what the living conditions during the period known as the Little Ice Age (AD 1350–1850) might have been like. Then students study information about lifestyles, the economy, crop yields, and human and livestock mortality during the Little Ice Age. They compare and discuss what they have learned.
Students use a card sort activity to explore different actions we can take to reduce the risks of climate change and learn to recognize different types of climate solutions: mitigations and adaptations.
Students follow steps to dilute a colored dye in water until the dye is one part per million. Then students consider atmospheric gases that are present in trace quantities, like ozone, and discuss how pollutants can be hazardous at very small concentrations.
In this activity, students observe how temperature changes can create a weather front, in particular how the mixing of warm and cold air can produce thunderstorms. Water, which behaves very similarly to air, and a density tank are used in this demonstration.
Students test a glider's launch design, payload, and atmospheric wind conditions that could favorably or negatively impact the pilot's intention to provide rescue supplies to a mountain community in need.
Students create graphic organizers describing the four major air pollutants reported in the Air Quality Index (ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide) and then identify the pollutants with a guessing game.
Students play a dice game to explore the differences between direct and indirect evidence to gain an understanding of how indirect evidence of climate change can be interpreted. The activity concludes with a discussion about the various records made by humans and indirect evidence found in nature that can be studied to understand how climate has varied through time.
Students use iron filings to explore the magnetic field around a magnet and record their observations. Next, students apply their experience with the magnet to understand the magnetic field around Earth. Following their investigation, students summarize their findings.
Project Resilience is a 20-day high school curriculum that helps students examine the environmental challenges facing communities along the Gulf of Mexico and learn about resilience planning using a resilience planning toolkit.
Students use information from Project Drawdown to learn about the sectors where climate solutions are being implemented to help slow down climate warming. Students construct a plan for using specific solutions to reduce and remove the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and make a claim describing how their plan could work to keep global temperature change below 1.5 °C .
This Teaching Box will help your students learn to identify features of the Sun using images with "light" from different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Many solar features play roles in the eruption of space weather "storms", so knowledge of these features is a prerequisite for understanding and predicting space weather events.
Students explore how shadows work and why they change through the day as the Sun appears to move across the sky by comparing their shadows at different times of the day and modeling with shadow puppets to see how the location of a light source changes a shadow.
Students identify sunspots on images of the Sun, discovering that the number, location, and size of spots are not always the same. During the first part of the activity, students make a graph that shows how the number of sunspots has changed over the past 30 years, discovering that there is a regular pattern to the number of sunspots (the 11-year sunspot cycle).
Students build a simple version of a magnetometer, an instrument capable of detecting areas that have strong magnetic fields. Students use their magnetometer and models of the Sun to investigate areas that have strong magnetic fields. Students examine images of the Sun to describethe features associated with the Sun's strongest magnetic fields and learn more about the features they have identified either through student research or teacher presentation.
Systems thinking is an important concept across the Earth sciences. In this game, students either are a part of a system or serve as scientists tasked with observing and making sense of the system moving in front of them.
Tornadoes, also called twisters, are rare and powerful weather events in which columns of air rotate dangerously fast. In this teaching box are resources to help students learn why and where tornadoes happen and how these weather events impact people’s lives.
Students read news articles about Hurricane Irene, present information with classmates, and construct a timeline to describe the hurricane’s story over time and across geographic area, exploring what happened, how people were affected, and how they reacted.
Students will use soda to explore how carbon dioxide is able to dissolve into liquid. They will learn about Henry's law, which describes how the solubility of gas into liquids is dependent on temperature, and develop hypotheses about how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas, is affected by rising atmospheric and oceanic temperatures.
Winter weather may cancel school, but it’s also an opportunity to learn science. This teaching box is filled with hands-on activities that get primary grade students to learn the science of winter weather including concepts of earth science. Explore the educational resources in this teaching box and bring snow and ice into your classroom!