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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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Dance of the Moon and Oceans
Topic: Gravity: It's What Keeps Us Together
Grade Level: 5-8
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, and consider what the Earth's tides might have been like if there were no moon.


Dancing Lights
Topic: Magnetospheres: Planetary Shields
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Sun, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Although children this age aren't prepared to learn about Earth's magnetosphere, they may be interested in the Northern Lights, which are caused by our magnetic field. Students explore the aurora through art and writing.


Differentiation Demonstration: Moon
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time
Grade Level: 5-8
Body: Earth, Earth's Moon
Mission: Earth Science (Earth), LADEE (Earth's Moon), Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon)

Short Description: Students observe a model of planetary differentiation, the organization of planetary interiors into layers of different densities. Materials of different densities are mixed in a bottle and allowed to separate into layers. The simple model illustrates how the Moon's interior became organized into a distinct core, mantle and outer crust from the debris of the Giant Impact.


Discover Earth: Hands-on Activities
Topic: Windy Worlds: Gas Giants, Atmospheres and Weather
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This module to support hands-on Earth science explorations includes several activities for this age, including Weather Wall, Weather: the Many Faces of Mother Nature and Weather Stations. Educators are invited to download the activities, supporting reading games and facilitator resources.


Discovering Plate Boundaries
Topic: Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8
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.


Discovering Plate Boundaries
Topic: Evolving Worlds: Planets, Like People, Grow and Change Over Time, Volcanism in the Solar System
Grade Level: 5-8, 9-12
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: This is an excellent inquiry based activity through which students in upper elementary through college can make observations about the patterns of features on Earth's surface -- and draw conclusions about the movements of Earth's tectonic plates.


Dunking the Planets
Topic: Investigating Our Planetary Family Tree
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Dwarf Planets
Mission: Voyager 1 (Our Solar System), Voyager 2 (Our Solar System)

Short Description: In this 30-minute demonstration, children ages 9-13 compare the relative sizes and masses of scale models of the planets as represented by fruits and other foods. The children dunk the "planets" in water to highlight the fact that even a large, massive planet -- such as Saturn -- can have low density. They discuss how a planet's density is related to whether it is mainly made up of rock or gas.


Evaporation Investigation
Topic: Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4
Body: Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students observe and understand the process of evaporation.


Exploring Crustal Materials from a Mystery Planet
Topic: Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8, 9-12
Body: Our Solar System, Earth
Mission: Earth Science (Earth)

Short Description: Students observe the characteristics of "crustal material" samples, classify material into groups, infer causes for the characteristics of the various samples, and infer the history of the mystery planet.


Exploring Ice in the Solar System
Topic: Ice in the Solar System, Water in the Solar System
Grade Level: K-4, 5-8
Body: Our Solar System, Mercury, Earth, Mars, Asteroids, Dwarf Planets, Comets, Kuiper Belt & Oort Cloud, Earth's Moon, Europa, Pluto, Ceres
Mission: Lunar Recon Orbiter (Earth's Moon), Mars Recon Orbiter (Mars), MESSENGER (Mercury), New Horizons (Dwarf Planets), Rosetta (Comets)

Short Description: Examine the importance of water in the form of ice in the solar system. From hands-on experiences with ice, the unit moves on to investigating ice in everyday life, in polar regions on Earth, and throughout the solar system.

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Last Updated: 25 Oct 2013