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Earth Update Teacher's Guide

Activity Guide

ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch
ACTIVITY 2 : Is the Sea Level?
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life
ACTIVITY 5 : Rising Waters
ACTIVITY 6 : Geo-Action
ACTIVITY 7 : Temperature vs Carbon Dioxide Levels
ACTIVITY 7A : The Algebra of Earth Science
ACTIVITY 8 : Changes in Carbon Dioxide
ACTIVITY 9 : Seasonal Vegetation Changes
ACTIVITY 10 : Ocean Temperatures
ACTIVITY 11 : Ocean Ups and Downs
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
ACTIVITY 13 : Moving Plates

For additional Earth Update activities, please visit our website.
http://earth.rice.edu/activities/


Alignment with the National Education Standards

Conceptual Science Focus

Earth Update activities focus on the unifying science concept of "change, constancy, and measurement" as defined in the National Science Education Standards. Each activity focuses on interpreting images or movies from the Earth Update software. To complete each activity, students must determine when a variable has changed and/or how one factor causes changes in other factors. Whenever possible, students are asked to quantify changes through graphs, tables, and equations. All activities are based on real images or displays of real data. Many also satisfy content standards for Mathematics, using mathematics no more difficult than Algebra I. Each page which describes the activity specifies which science, math and/or geography standard(s) the activity is related to.

Correlation with Science Content Standards

Earth Update activities are targeted for grades 5-8, but can be adapted for other grade levels. The following table identifies specific content standards that update activities address. Each activity focuses on a specific subset of these standards.



Grades K-4

Grades 5-8

Grades 9-12
Physical Science Position/motion of objects:
ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch;
ACTIVITY 13 : Moving Plates
Properties of matter:
ACTIVITY 2 : Is the Sea Level?;
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 5 : Rising Waters;
Motions and forces:
ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch;
ACTIVITY 6 : Geo-Action;
ACTIVITY 11 : Ocean Ups and Downs;
ACTIVITY 13 : Moving Plates;
Transfer of energy
Properties of matter; Motions and forces:
ACTIVITY 11 : Ocean Ups and Downs;
ACTIVITY 13 : Moving Plates;
Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
Life Science Organisms and environments:
ACTIVITY 9 : Seasonal Vegetation Changes
Populations and ecosystems:
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life;
ACTIVITY 5 : Rising Waters;
ACTIVITY 9 : Seasonal Vegetation Changes;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
Interdependence of organisms; Behavior of organisms:
ACTIVITY 9 : Seasonal Vegetation Changes
Earth and Space Science Changes in earth and sky:
ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch;
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life;
ACTIVITY 7 : Temperature vs Carbon Dioxide Levels;
ACTIVITY 8 : Changes in Carbon Dioxide;
ACTIVITY 9 : Seasonal Vegetation Changes;
ACTIVITY 10 : Ocean Temperatures;
ACTIVITY 11 : Ocean Ups and Downs;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
Structure of the earth system:
ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch;
ACTIVITY 2 : Is the Sea Level?;
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 5 : Rising Waters;
ACTIVITY 6 : Geo-Action;
ACTIVITY 7 : Temperature vs Carbon Dioxide Levels;
ACTIVITY 8 : Changes in Carbon Dioxide;
ACTIVITY 9 : Seasonal Vegetation Changes;
ACTIVITY 10 : Ocean Temperatures;
ACTIVITY 11 : Ocean Ups and Downs;
ACTIVITY 13 : Moving Plates;
Earth's history:
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 6 : Geo-Action
Energy in the earth system:
ACTIVITY 2 : Is the Sea Level?;
Geochemical cycles; Origin and evolution of the earth system:
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 6 : Geo-Action
Science and Technology Understanding science and technology:
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life
Understanding science and technology:
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
Understanding science and technology:
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Changes in environments:
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
Populations, resources and environments:
ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch;
ACTIVITY 2 : Is the Sea Level?;
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life;
ACTIVITY 5 : Rising Waters;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations;
Risks and benefits:
ACTIVITY 1 : Five Faces of Hurricane Mitch;
ACTIVITY 4 : Night Life;
ACTIVITY 5 : Rising Waters;
ACTIVITY 6 : Geo-Action;
ACTIVITY 7 : Temperature vs Carbon Dioxide Levels;
ACTIVITY 8 : Changes in Carbon Dioxide;
ACTIVITY 10 : Ocean Temperatures
Population growth; Natural resources; environmental quality:
ACTIVITY 3 : Coming of the Ice;
ACTIVITY 12 : Polluting Populations
History and Nature of Science Science as a human endeavor:
See "Who" and "Why" sections of each sphere
Science as a human endeavor:
See "Who" and "Why" sections of each sphere
Science as a human endeavor:
See "Who" and "Why" sections of each sphere

Inquiry Focus

In the vision presented by the National Science Education Standards, inquiry is a step beyond "science as a process," in which students learn skills, such as observation, inference, and experimentation. In Earth Update activities, students face complex questions whose solutions require scientific reasoning and critical thinking. Activities students in inquiry to help students develop
  • an understanding of scientific concepts.
  • an appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
  • an understanding of the nature of science.
  • the skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.

Fundamental Nature of Earth Update Content

The content that students discover in the Earth Update program is fundamental because it
  • represents phenomena in the natural world.
  • has rich explanatory power related to events happening every day on earth.
  • guides fruitful investigations over the Internet and in everyday life.
  • applies to situations and contexts common to everyday experiences.
  • is developmentally appropriate because activities are modified for students at different grade levels.

National Geography Standards (1994)

The content that students discover in the Earth Update program is fundamental to the study of geography because it

National Mathematics Standards (2000)

The activities included here in the Earth Update program use mathematics in a fundamental way, including
Changing Focus on How Students do Science

The National Science Education Standards envision change throughout the system. The Earth Update activity unit encompasses the following changes in curriculum emphases:
  • More understanding of science concepts that drive change on the Earth, rather than facts about places and events on the planet
  • Activities which imbed student inquiry as students investigate the relationships between events and changing conditions on the planet
  • Activities which integrate information from different sources and in different topic areas
  • Activities which ask students to form their own methods of inquiry as they solve problems using their own methods and in their own words.
  • Activities that pose science questions and can be extended with daily observations
  • Activities that use evidence to revise or support an explanation
  • Activities that ask students to explain observations and form hypotheses about related outcomes
  • Activities that focus on students communicating what they have learned in their own words
  • Activities that students do in groups and present to classmates

NASA resources for educational materials are listed below.

NASA Spacelink http://spacelink.nasa.gov/
Central Operation of Resources for Educators http://core.nasa.gov/
NASA's Learning Technologies Project http://learn.ivv.nasa.gov/
NASA Resources for Educators http://education.nasa.gov/educators.html
   

Last Update: December 12, 2001