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Analyzing Star Trails
Conditions of Use:
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In this activity, students examine a photograph of the night sky and answer questions about their observations. The picture, taken by a high school student in upstate New York, offers insight into the Earth's rotation, apparent star motion, the location of Polaris (the North Star), circumpolar constellations, and pointer stars.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Steve Kluge
Are You Kyoto Cool?
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

Students will complete this survey that determines their personal and household contributions to atmospheric Carbon dioxide by using information about their previous year's consumption. They will understand that Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas produced by the combustion of fossil fuels, and that its production can be minimized by taking personal steps to conserve.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Astronomy
Atmospheric Science
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Glenn Dolphin
Basic Inquiry: Radiation and Heat Transfer by Conduction (title provided or enhanced by cataloger)
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

This activity consists of two parts in which students investigate heat transfer by radiation and by conduction. In the first part, students design and conduct an experiment to test the effect of color on an object's ability to radiate energy (heat). In the second part, they investigate the transfer of energy from a hotter object to a cooler one, in this case, containers of hot and cold water. In both experiments, they are required to state a hypothesis, make a list of materials and procedures needed for the experiment, collect and graph data, and state a conclusion. Each experiment is accompanied by a set of analysis and conclusion questions.

Subject:
Astronomy
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
David Robison
Burning Down the House
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this demonstration, the teacher will use a potato and hydrogen peroxide to generate oxygen in a closed environment. Students can then observe its effects on a burning wooden splint and on burning steel wool. They will understand that a large amount of energy can be released by the process of oxidation. As an extension, the teacher can discuss how the appearance of oxygen (produced by cyanobacteria) in Earth's early atmosphere initially resulted in the formation of large deposits of iron oxide (Banded Iron Formations) and then aided in the evolution of more complex life forms.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Material Type:
Interactive
Lecture Notes
Simulation
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Glenn Dolphin
Changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

The Gulf of Maine Aquarium hosts this two-part activity. The focus is on seasonal changes in the mass balance of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. Part 1 uses an atlas and satellite imagery to examine the geography of the region and the changing boundaries of the ice sheet. Part 2 tracks annual changes in sea ice. There is an animation page showing changes in ice cover around Antarctica during 1991, and links to several other student activities: Coping with the Cold (Plan an expedition to Antarctica), Blubber Glove (Demonstrate how Antarctic animals stay warm in bone-chilling water), Salt Concentration (Demonstrate how cold-blooded animals survive subfreezing water temperatures without being shattered by ice crystals), Penguin Adaptation (Brainstorm ways in which penguins are well-adapted to cold water and icy environments), Chick Die-Off (Show how sea ice cover and penguin chick populations are related), and Creating Plankton (Design an ocean "wanderer").

Subject:
Environmental Science
Life Science
Biology
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Astronomy
Chemistry
Oceanography
Physical Geography
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Diagram/Illustration
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Coastal and Continental Temperature Ranges
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

Climographs, graphic plots of monthly temperature and precipitation, allow students to see how differences in insolation at various locations affect rates of heating and cooling. In this activity, students use climographs to plot locations using latitude and longitude, calculate annual temperature ranges, and relate unequal rates of heating and cooling to climate variations. They will also construct climographs for two locations in New York, analyze them, and answer questions about their observations.

Subject:
Astronomy
Atmospheric Science
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Becky Remis
Contour Plates
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students construct three-dimensional models from terrain information provided by two-dimensional topographic maps. This will allow them to visualize how changes in elevation over a certain distance can be represented on a flat piece of paper that can be folded up and tucked away. Each group is responsible for constructing a model of Mount St. Helens 'before' and 'after', a depression, a stream, and a hill. Discussion questions related to the different representations are also included.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Physical Geography
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Drew Patrick
Density for Chocolate Lovers
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

The relationship between mass, volume, and density is explored using chocolate. The mass and volume of solid chocolate bars, liquid chocolate, and small chocolate pieces are determined and used to compute density for comparison. The activity includes a worksheet that allows students to report their findings and infer density changes as a material goes from solid to liquid to gas.

Subject:
Astronomy
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Eric Cohen
Density of Earth's Layers
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students measure the densities of samples of granite, basalt, peridotite/dunite, and an iron meteorite, which are used as representatives of the various layers of the Earth (crust, mantle, core). The samples are weighed to determine their mass, and the Archimedes Principle is used to determine volume. From these two properties, they calculate density, compare it to accepted values presented in the discussion, and answer questions about their observations.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Geology
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Eryn Klosko
Design a Hiking Trail
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

This lesson provides experience working on a real-life scenario by allowing students the opportunity to use topographic maps to design a hiking trail system based on access from road, range of habitats, and other specified criteria. They will also complete a data sheet and produce an informational brochure.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Physical Geography
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Lesson Plan
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Becky Remis
Rose Hochmuth
Doppler Effect and Properties of Light
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this experiment, students explore the diffraction of light into different wavelengths (colors) by using a diffraction grating and shoe box to create and measure a visible spectrum. The concepts of diffraction, electromagnetic waves, wavelength, and the electromagnetic spectrum are introduced. The activity also includes a discussion of red shift, blue shift, and the Doppler effect. Information about solar radiation and the roles of stratospheric and tropospheric ozone is included.

Subject:
Astronomy
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
David Robison
Earth History Tours, Inc.
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

In this activity, students play the roles of "time travel agents" creating an advertisement for a geologic time period which has been assigned to them. They will use the Earth Science Reference Tables (available on the internet) to learn some basic facts about their assigned period. A rubric for assessing student understanding is provided.

Subject:
Life Science
Astronomy
Chemistry
Geology
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Nicole LaDue
Earthquakes and Plate Boundaries
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

This activity uses the free software 'Seismic Eruption' to visualize seismicity and volcanic activity in space and time and to explore the relationship of earthquakes and volcanic activiy to plate tectonics. Students run simulations on the Pacific coasts of South America and California and the mid-oceanic ridge in the Atlantic Ocean, answer questions, and construct a cross-section. A link to download the software is provided.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Geology
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Drew Patrick
The Egg Drop
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students conduct experiments using an egg and a graduated cylinder filled with liquids of different densities. By observing how different densities affect the egg's position in the cylinder, they can draw important connections to the Earth's lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere.

Subject:
Astronomy
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Dave Robison
The Ellipse
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

Most orbiting bodies follow a path that is an ellipse. In this activity, students construct 2 ellipses, and examine and measure them to determine some of their fundamental properties. The exercise helps learners make comparisons to planetary orbit eccentricities, and includes guidelines for constructing a scale model of Haley's comet.

Subject:
Mathematics
Astronomy
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Steve Kluge
Five E(z) Steps to Teaching Earth-Moon Scaling
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students critically analyze prior conceptions and textbook visuals of the relative sizes and orbiting distance of the Earth-moon system (and other bodies in our solar system), search out sources for this data, and construct scale models by using balls of various sizes. There are tips for helping learners understand the large scales (i.e., millions rather than thousands) that characterize our solar system, and examples are provided of scaling using different sizes of athletic balls.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Interactive
Lesson Plan
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Thomas O'Brien
Flat Bottom Clouds
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students investigate how pressure affects the temperature of air and how this relates to the formation of clouds in the troposphere. They will form a cloud in a bottle, find the dew point and relative humidity of air at different places in the school and use a chart to estimate how high that air would have to rise to form a cloud.

Subject:
Astronomy
Atmospheric Science
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
David Robison
Flooding in Virginia
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students use a National Weather Service flood forecast, USGS gauging data, and other reports to estimate the maximum storm discharge from the New River and Wolf Creek, two streams in the Southeast U.S. which experienced flooding in November 2003. Topographic and urban maps are used to predict where flooding would occur and to evaluate strategies for reducing flood risk for the residents of the region.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Hydrology
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Drew Patrick
Gotham Equinox
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

In this activity, students examine a photo and map of Manhattan, New York, to determine the date the photo was taken. The activity provides opportunities for discussing seasons, equinoxes, and the apparent position of the Sun throughout the year. Links to additional information are embedded in the text.

Subject:
Astronomy
Chemistry
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Provider:
UCAR Staff
Provider Set:
New York State Earth Science Instructional Collection
Author:
Steve Kluge