TeachersFirst's Earth Science Resources
This curated list of reviewed resources includes teaching ideas and sites related to earth science. This is a perfect list to share during Earth Science Week in October, or anytime throughout the year. Find engaging tools to use to help your students better understand weather, volcanoes, and so much more. Don't miss "In the classroom" ideas for specific projects or ideas for before, during, and after reading.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAlthough geared toward middle school students and educators, anyone who teaches weather will want to take the time to explore this site for student and teacher resources. Use the educators section to find activities, science fair ideas, and content aligned to standards. Share the people portion of the site during your career exploration activities. Share a link to games and activities on classroom computers and your class website. Upon completing activities, have students create an online or printed comic about an element of weather, climate, meteorology, or any aspect of Earth science. Use a tool such as Printable Comic Strip Templates, reviewed here, for a nontech rough and final draft. If you're new to using technology with your students, or teach younger students augment techology use with ToonyTool, reviewed here, for their final drafts. To modify tech use in your class and for more experienced, older students try Write Comics, reviewed here.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning station or center. Be sure to include a link on your class web page for use at home. If you're beginning to integrate technology in your class or have younger students, augment techology use by creating a word cloud of the important terms students learn from this site using a tool such as Word Clouds For Kids, reviewed here. Alternatively, these students could use an online poster creator such as Printing Press, reviewed here, to present information learned about space. Teachers more advance with integrating technology can tranform tech use with an online poster creator such as Canva, reviewed here.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomThis collection of books could accompany a unit on earth science, weather, or even communities and government as your students look at how disasters affect people and how individuals or governments respond to adversity. These books would also connect well to a character education or guidance unit about dealing with a crisis. You could even include this list with a geography unit about differences in weather, climate, and landforms around the world. Talk about WHY natural disasters happen and/or the results afterward: How did communities change? What did people do in response? If having students read independently, you may want to pose a big question or two related to your curriculum for them to think about as they read. Have them return and share their answers after reading, perhaps as a presentation or small group project.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): animals (323), atoms (55), biodiversity (34), biomes (134), cells (105), chemicals (51), earth (226), earthquakes (52), electricity (94), energy (212), engineering (132), forces (47), life cycles (23), magnetism (42), matter (65), moon (81), motion (70), natural disasters (21), natural resources (58), plants (175), rock cycle (14), rocks (52), solar system (125), sun (75), volcanoes (65)
In the ClassroomThis tool has great ideas and ready to use images and videos from around the Internet. Use as a starter activity to engage students and "hook" them into the lesson. Use the images or videos to discover misconceptions, find prior knowledge before beginning the lesson, or just to interest students in the topic. Show the image or video on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Be sure to share this site (with a log in) on your class website for students to use when preparing individual or group presentations. Use resources in these tiles to engage students in creative writing about science or to explain the concepts learned at the end of the unit.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomEach resource provides lesson plan ideas including questions and all information needed. Use this resource to uncover trends found in data and look at the statements that can be made about these trends. Students can use their findings to compare to present models of Earth systems. Students can also debate whether they support or reject present models and conclusions by scientists.
Grades1 to 5
In the ClassroomEncourage students to explore the world of paleontology. Add this site to your unit of Earth science, or dinosaurs. Introduce on your interactive whiteboard and encourage students to do more research on specific areas that fossils have been discovered. Transform learning by challenging students to create a wiki about dinosaurs and paleontology (or add to one you already have). Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Have students integrate this knowledge with other informational books to do a short, focused research project to align with Common Core standards. (Learn more about short, focused research projects a la Common Core in this article.) Include actually "making" fossils to integrate art into your study. Add to a literacy center for further exploration. Include this link on your class website for students to access outside of class.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomBookmark this site for use during any Earth Science unit. View PowerPoints on your interactive whiteboard with students. Use suggestions from the literacy strategies with any classroom subject and share with student teachers as a resource for lesson planning. Augment the technology use in your classroom by having students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut, reviewed here.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse side by side Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Keep the earth's "big picture" open on one side as you zoom in to investigate on the other. Or arrange side by side comparisons. Example: compare the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Compare various locations for global warming, compare of volcano activity, or a history of immigration. Compare historic maps from different time periods to show how countries and boundaries change. Turn layers on and off from Choose an Earth or onscreen options to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a visual experience on an interactive whiteboard with the scale and measurement tools. Use one window to show human geography and the other window to show items from the CIA Factbook for comparison. Have students hypothesize connections between geographic features and statistics about human development.
Grades3 to 12
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In the ClassroomEnjoy the interactives, videos, and text together on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use selected activities as a center (station). Include as resources for your curriculum. Use as a model to augment technology use in your classroom and make a wiki for your current topic of study for a group project or classroom project. Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. Use this resource to spice up your classroom blog.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBuild student literacy skills, reinforce what students are learning about Earth Science, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior (classroom!) knowledge. Share this link on your class web page or wiki so students can select independent reading books to accompany your unit on Earth Science. Don't forget to share the list with the school and local libraries so they can bring in some of the books on interlibrary loan. CurriConnects are a great help for teachers who have lost school library/media specialists due to budget cuts.
Grades5 to 9
The articles contained in this site are to the point, clear to understand, and in a large font. There are very few distractions going on in the site. It is easy to navigate and has a cool teacher tool in the buzz blog. Click on the Community tab, and the blogs are indexed by standards and grouped into topics such as earth science and physical science with subtopics.
In the ClassroomThis site would be a great resource for current events projects. To augment the use of technology in your classroom, students could be assigned a specific article to read, and then post to a discussion board like Quick Topic, reviewed here. Or transform technology use by having students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Some tool suggestions are (click on the tool name to access the review): Adobe Spark for K-12, Animatron, Sway, and Beautiful.AI.
GradesK to 4
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tag(s): acid rain (5), carbon (24), climate (97), earth (226), earthquakes (52), fire (27), fossils (44), glaciers (17), hurricanes (39), images (273), natural disasters (21), natural resources (58), preK (281), rocks (52), tsunamis (18), volcanoes (65), water cycle (32), wetlands (11)
In the ClassroomFor a quick use, add images from this site to a PowerPoint. For a more in-depth use of the site, either choose several pictures/topics that would enhance your unit, or allow students to choose a topic they would like to investigate further. Have pairs or small groups of students brainstorm questions they have about the topic. Many of the questions they come up with will be answered when they click on the picture. For the questions that aren't answered on that page, have older students research the answer using the Internet as a resource.
Have student groups make an online Padlet, reviewed here
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse "Observe a raindrop traveling through various paths of the water cycle" at the beginning of a unit on the water cycle. Give students the vocabulary terms and have them describe or narrate the path of one drop of water through the interactive. Students choose anywhere to start and after time will realize why it is a cycle. Use "Examine Earth from a new perspective" to view the Earth using a variety of contexts: earthquakes, sea surface temperatures, or seasonal changes in land to name a few. Use the Earthquakes visualization to see where the major earthquakes have occurred over time. Use this visualization to find the pattern in the earth. Use as the start of a unit in plate tectonics or later in the unit when discussing human population in the world as well. (Many are along coastlines where major populations are located.)
Grades4 to 12
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In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard or projector to view videos and images from the site with your class. Use lesson plans provided as additional resources within Earth Science units. Augment technology use in your classroom by having cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Or, challenge students to narrate an image using a site such as Thinklink, reviewed here. Transform the use of technology in your classroom by assigning students different portions of the site to review and prepare multimedia projects to share with the class with Sway, reviewed here, or give students a choice of projects to complete with Genial.ly, reviewed here. Both Sway and Genial.ly will allow your students to create multimedia projects.
Grades3 to 8
In the ClassroomUse this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a Science unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Share the videos and/or karaoke with your students. Have students sing along and learn more about science. Especially younger students will enjoy this feature. Create a link to the site on your classroom website or blog for students to use for review and practice at home. Include a link on your classroom newsletter so that parents can use the site at home with their student. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. View the videos on your interactive whiteboard, print out the quizzes for students to take as an assessment.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomBring Earth Science into your class no matter what subject you teach. Earth Science has broad applications in almost all sciences and many other subject areas as we are connected to the Earth. Use the information, videos, and pictures to create discussions and inquire about topics in your classroom. Many of the activities in "For Teachers" are great for demonstrations and generating interest in phenomenon. For example, use "Sinkholes in a Cup, "to demonstrate how fast removal of groundwater in an area can cause sinkholes. Follow this demonstration with Google Earth, reviewed here, layers that show this phenomenon in various areas of the world or research of where these have occurred. Find videos, large scale maps, and other resources to share via an interactive whiteboard, wiki, or blog.
Students can create public service announcements about earth science issues to raise awareness and provide learning opportunities to others.
Grades6 to 9
In the ClassroomThis interactive could easily be used as the bulk of a lesson in earth science on volcanoes. The site covers the basics without text overkill. This would be great for middle level learners. It could also be used as part of a good online unit on natural disasters such as volcanoes, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Use this as a part of a webquest or web hunt in natural disaster units.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomUse this site to check student understanding of topics being studied. Share this site and the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have groups of students investigate various topics together. Students can use this site individually to check for understanding and additional practice. List this link on your class website for students to use for practice both in and out of the classroom.
Grades6 to 12
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