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Earth Activities
The lessons below are teacher-favorite lessons focused on Earth. For more search options or to search by other science target, missions and other criteria, visit our Fast Lesson Finder. You can also search by curriculum standards on our popular Curriculum Standards Quilts.


Earth Lessons:

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Alka-Seltzer Rocket: How to Build Your Own Rocket
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Building this rocket will help students understand how real rockets propel themselves into space.


All About Ice
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Our Solar System, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), Spitzer (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this suite of activities, students investigate ice, learn about its properties and explore how it can change states to a liquid or a gas. Through hands-on experiences, they observe ice, find its melting and freezing point, and learn about some of its unique properties, including that ice, the solid phase of water, is less dense than the liquid!


An Organism Based Upon Arsenic Not Phosphorus!
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: NASA researchers exploring extremophile bacteria in Mono Lake, California claimed to have discovered a new strain of bacterium GFAJ-1 in the Gammaproteobacteria group, which not only feeds on the poisonous element arsenic, but incorporates this element in its DNA as a replacement for normal phosphorus


Cake Batter Lava
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Venus, Earth, Mars
Mission: 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), Venus Express (Venus)

Short Description: To understand some of the geological processes and the structures that form as lava flows across planetary landscapes by using cake batter as an analog for lava.


Close Encounters of the Asteroid Kind!
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Asteroids
Mission: DSN (Our Solar System)

Short Description: The Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz., discovered two small asteroids on the morning of Sunday, September 5, 2010 during a routine monitoring of the skies.


Dance of the Moon and Oceans
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Sun, Earth, Earth's Moon

Short Description: Students discover how the moon's gravitational pull causes the level of the ocean to rise and fall twice a day along most coastlines through this kinesthetic activity. They also consider what the Earth's tides might have been like if there were no moon.


Desert RATS
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Mars, Earth's Moon

Short Description: Students research and present an exploration mission timeline proposal that utilizes the scientific process to meet science objectives and mission parameters for the field site. The goal is for students to create a 3-day mission timeline of activities for exploration.


Discovering Plate Boundaries
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12
Lesson Time: 30-60 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This data-rich exercise to help students discover the processes that occur at plate tectonic boundaries is built around four global data maps: 1) Earthquake location and depth, 2) Location of recent volcanic activity, 3) Seafloor age, and 4) Topography and bathymetry. Alternative versions of the activity can concentrate on examining just the volcanic data and comparing the locations of volcanoes composed primarily of basalt to those of andesite and rhyolite, relative to plate boundaries.


Does the Moon Rotate?
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: Less Than 30 Minutes
Solar System Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Apollo (Earth's Moon), Heliophysics (Sun)

Short Description: Make a three-dimensional model of the Earth and Moon. Using the Sun's light. discover that the Moon does rotate, in the same amount of time it takes to make one orbit.


Earth-Moon Activity
Grade Level: 6-8
Lesson Time: More Than an Hour
Solar System Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This activity helps students understand the size of and distance between Earth and the Moon. Students work in pairs using different-sized spherical objects to represent Earth and the Moon. They use the diameter of the objects to establish this scale.

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Last Updated: 28 Apr 2014