Earth Science

The lesson ideas below are engaging, project-based ideas that you can use in your classroom to fulfill the NGSS.

Here are the grades 9-12 NGSS for Space Systems, History of Earth, Earth's Systems, and Climate.


National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation hosts this website that has resources of recent scientific discoveries. These discoveries include issues with coral reefs, infectious diseases in Redwood forests, and how earthquakes can give cluse to volcanic eruptions. Inquiry lessons based on these discoveries can easily be created. Have your students determine the importance of these discoveries, the implications of the conclusions, and even how they might utilize or resolve the discovery or issue.

National Science Foundation Discoveries


PBS Media Resources

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) hosts this webiste that has a large collection of video resources from the television network. These videos include topics about mountain weather, Earth's albedo and Global Climate Change, and what a planet actually is. These videos can be used to engage the students with the topic at hand, or to push the students one step further to investigate the topic.

PBS Learning Media Resources


National Geographic

The National Geographic main website is full of information, facts, and ideas that can spark inquiry lessons. The website cited here is specifically the activities that National Geographic has created for educators. The page lists many activites across multiple disciplines that are interative, engaging, and allow for student discovery.

National Geographic Education Resources



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website has a lot of information, resources, and tools that can be placed in a variety of lesson plans. This portion of the website has compiled and list of resources that are activities or instructional pages on certain topics. These topics and activities include Ocean Motion, Sunspots, and Comets.



Art of Teaching: Hurricane Katrina

This website analyzes the cause, onset, aftermath, and the preventative measures developed after the storm. The site also links to a PBS documentary on the storm. A variety of lessons can be designed that allows the students to explore the storm through inquiry and draw their own conclusions in order to compare to the official analysis.

Hurricane Katrina


University of Colorado PhET Simulations

The University of Colorado in Boulder developed this webpage that offers a multitude of online simulations that depict various concepts. These simulations include Plate Tectonics, Fluid Motion, and Orbit due to Gravity. A variety of Engage, Explore, or Elaborate activities can be designed around the simulations, especially if your school does not have the materials to create the physical simulation.

PHET Simulations


Web-based Inquiry Science Environment (WISE)

WISE is a site hosted by UC Berkeley. "WISE is a research-based digital learning platform that fosters exploration and science inquiry". WISE has several interactive projects that give students the oppurtunity to investigate various earth sciecne concepts.



Earth Science Week Activities

Earth Science Week has based a large series of activities around the National Science Education Standards. These activities range in grade level and topic, but almost all meet a national standard. Some examples are Exploring Change with GIS, Mapping a Refuge, and Using Energy Resources Wisely

Earth Science Activities List


UCLA Science Inquiry

The University of California LA has created a site with the mission of developing "inquiry-based activities that are affordable, and easy to implement". The lessons span across 6 grade levels and match the California Science Standards. An example lesson is Sea-floor Spreading.

UC L.A. Science Inquiry

Vernier Scientific Experiment

Vernier Scientific has posted the introduction and materials portions of the experiments in their various lab books. The books and experiments range from basic to advanced levels in multiple subjects. The full lab books can be purchased from the website, but the free previews are enough to design an inquiry-based experiment that has the same objectives.

Vernier Labs


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If you have ideas and lessons ideas that you think exemplify the NGSS, please email your ideas to Dr. Ann Haley MacKenzie