Earth Day 2016

Written by Andrew Clark, IGES

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and NASA is going to share a behind the scenes look at a typical day in the life of its Earth science mission. See how NASA works every day to better understand our home planet through a series of snapshot views shared on social media using the hashtag #24Seven. Whether it's communicating with orbiting satellites, analyzing data, developing new technologies, supporting the next generation of scientists and engineers, running airborne missions to study regional changes, or the day-to-day meetings, presentations and technical work - NASA monitors the pulse of the planet #24Seven.

NASA is also asking for you to share what you're doing this Earth Day to make the world a better place to live, work, learn, and play! Share your pictures and short videos with NASA (from 6am EDT April 21 through 8am EDT April 23) using the hashtag #24Seven on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. A few weeks later, watch for a follow-up video that captures some of the best and farthest-flung images and videos showcasing Earth Day 2016 around the world.

Still planning what to do on Earth Day? Earth Day is a great time to celebrate our planet in your classroom or community. Seize the opportunity for furthering Earth science education by including some of these hands-on science and engineering activities in your Earth Day events.

Building for Hurricanes Engineering and Design Challenge: This short engineering design challenge can be completed by individual students or small teams. A real-world problem is presented, designing buildings for hurricane-prone areas, but in a simulated way that works in a classroom, after school club, or informal education setting. Students are given simple materials and design requirements, and must plan and build a tower as tall as possible that will hold up a tennis ball while resisting the force of wind from a fan.

Drive-By Science: UV-sensitive Beads: Learners will experiment with ultraviolet light sensitive plastic beads, which are generally white but turn colors when exposed to UV light. They learn about the nature and risks of UV light and are asked to explore what types of materials keep the beads, and hence the user, safe from UV light.

Blue Marble Matches: Students will use NASA satellite images to identify geologic surface features on the "Blue Marble" (Earth), and will explore the connection between those features and the geologic processes that created them.

Cloud in a Bottle: This activity uses a 2L plastic beverage bottle and other simple ingredients to demonstrate the three factors required for cloud formation.

Credit: Jeff Buler
Birds and Radar: This Space Place article describes how NASA radar that is studying rainfall can also teach us about bird migration. Includes an activity for building your own birdseed wreath. Targeted for children ages 10-12.

Drive-By Science: Why is the sky blue, why are sunsets orange, and what color is the Sun?
This lesson includes a demonstration to show why the sky is blue and why sunsets and sunrises are orange. Learners will use scientific practices to investigate answers to questions involving the color of the sky, sunsets, the Sun, and oceans. Requires a clear acrylic or glass container to hold water, a strong flashlight, and powdered creamer or milk.

Share photos or videos of your celebration with NASA on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #24Seven. Get an insider's look at all that NASA does for Earth science every minute of every day by visiting