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“Adopt” a Piece of the Planet

NASA Adopt a PlanetIt’s hard to top NASA for an out-of-this-world way to celebrate Earth Day 2017. The space agency is inviting people from around the globe to virtually “adopt” one of 64,000 individual pieces of Earth as seen from space by one of its 18 Earth science instruments.

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Asteroid Impact!

asteroid impactIn this first of eight activities, students in grades 6 – 8 learn about the engineering design process and earth science by beginning to design an underground cavern that can shelter people for one year after an asteroid strike makes Earth uninhabitable.

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Activity: Eyewitness to Evaporation

dust bowlIn this week-long activity, student teams in grades 5 – 7 study the effects of evaporation by observing and measuring the ongoing evaporation of water in pans that contain soil or other variables, then then assess what factors may affect evaporation.

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Lesson Plan: Pollution in Our Watershed

Pollution in WatersheadBy building a simple watershed with paper and markers, students will understand how pollution accumulates in our water sources, especially from pesticides used in agriculture, and what constitutes a watershed.

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Lesson: Measure the Earth’s Circumference

In this project, students in grades 6-12 will recreate the remarkable measurement of the circumference of the earth first performed over 2,000 years ago. Using rulers, protractors, and meter sticks, students measure shadows cast by a stick on a day close to the equinox, then use that measurement in a simple equation to determine the circumference.

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Web Resource: The Science of Earthquakes


Tasa Graphics Arts, Inc., a company that illustrates science textbooks, offers an online chapter on earthquakes, with clear explanations and illustrations of key terms used in the study of seismology.

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Web Resources: How Earthquakes Occur

The Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology (IRIS) offers resources for teachers wishing to help their students better understand why devastating earthquakes like the one that recently struck Haiti happen. The “Teachable moments” page features presentations (including an excellent power point slide show), animations, posters, images, video, general information, programs, resources in Spanish, news, and more.

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Curriculum: I-STEM Resource Network

Indiana’s I-STEM Resource Network offers a several K-12 activities and lesson plans in areas ranging from Earth Science, Environmental Science, Physics, Mathematics, and Technology Education.

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Curriculum: Montana State U. Lesson Plans

Earth, Space, and Life — check out the K-12 science lesson plans offered through Montana State University’s Extended University Website, a number of which explore the region’s local environment and Native American cultures.

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