Geologists study the Earth, trying to understand the forces that gradually shape and change the landscape and ocean floor, as well as forces that make themselves felt more suddenly, like earthquakes and volcanoes. The information geologist discover helps in many ways, from keeping populations safe from disasters like landslides to uncovering important ore deposits like titanium used for surgical equipment.

Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-8th
Do sea levels rise when ice melts? Does it matter whether the ice is on land or in the ocean? Students design an experiment to find out. They collect data, graph their results, and interpret their findings. Along the way, they learn about density, displacement, and climate change. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-PS1-2. Measure and graph quantities to provide evidence that regardless of the type of change that occurs when heating, cooling, or mixing substances, the total weight of matter is conserved.
  • MS-PS1-5. Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
In this activity, students will compare maps showing worldwide temperature, precipitation, biodiversity, and soil nutrition levels to predict where on our planet rainforests are located. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS2-2. Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth's features.
  • 5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways in which the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
  • MS-ESS2-6. Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-7th
How can we determine the locations of tectonic plate boundaries? How can we use seismic waves to pinpoint the epicenter of an earthquake? In this activity, students will explore these and other questions using seismic data and triangulation. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 3rd-5th
Our planet's surface may be mostly covered in water, but how much of that can we use? In this activity, students will see how water is distributed across different sources, how much can be used by humans, and will brainstorm ways to decrease their usage of fresh water. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-ESS2-2. Describe and graph the amounts of salt water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
The problems with using fossil fuels starts with extraction. In this activity, students "mine" chocolate chips out of cookies to demonstrate the effects mining can have on habitats. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 4-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
  • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd
In this lesson, students will build three-dimensional play dough models from pictures that show various landforms and bodies of water. As they analyze and compare their different models, students will realize that there are many different types of landforms and bodies of water on Earth. Based on their play dough models, students will discuss how various landforms and bodies of water can be represented on a map. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-ESS2-2. Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
By building your own seismograph to document shaking, you and your children will learn about the cause of earthquakes and how scientists measure earthquake intensity. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Can one type of rock turn into another type of rock? In this lesson plan, your students will explore the rock cycle and model it using crayons. Can they turn a sedimentary "rock" made from crayon shavings into a metamorphic rock? What about an igneous rock? Try this lesson to find out! Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Lesson Plan Grade: 2nd
In this lesson plan, students investigate different types of water bodies on Earth by making models of lakes, oceans, and rivers inside an aluminum pan using various materials and real water. By describing each water body and sharing their observations about their differences and similarities, students will be able to identify the typical characteristics of each water body. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 2-ESS2-2. Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.
  • 2-ESS2-3. Obtain information to identify where water is found on Earth and that it can be solid or liquid.
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Free science fair projects.