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Biosphere  
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After making observations of their natural surroundings, students uncover the intricate relationships between the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere and hydrosphere. This introductory lesson uses the 5E instructional model. All background information,... (View More)

Water is essential to Earth’s living system, the biosphere. In this lesson, students determine the types of living things within an outdoor study site, use a taxonomic key to determine the predominant land cover type of their site, then predict... (View More)

In this field-based investigation, students survey vegetation and small animal diversity in a study plot. They calculate the biomass of different organisms, and create a habitat action plan based on their data. A student data sheet is included. This... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per group of students

The activity introduces students to aspects of the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and litho/geosphere and how they are interrelated. It is designed to promote an interest in authentic investigations of Earth using images acquired by astronauts... (View More)

In this field activity, students document examine the role of a tree in its ecosystem and as part of the environment in a human community. Students measure the tree's dimensions, examine co-residing organisms, leaf litter, and soil, and research the... (View More)

In this activity, student teams explore connections between parts of the Earth system, by examining a time series of environmental data maps. Each team examines a single variable displayed on a global data map, and identify the unit of measure, the... (View More)

Students work in teams to research and debate the following issues: protection of spotted owl habitat, ozone depletion, global warming, and acid rain. Each team is assigned a topic and given opposing statements by Al Gore and Rush Limbaugh as a... (View More)

Audience: High school
Materials Cost: Free per group of students

The effects of volcanoes on both the environment and people are the focus of this investigation. Students are introduced to the term "buffer" and are tasked with creating a possible buffer zone around Mount St. Helens. Students begin by assigning 32... (View More)

This is an activity about the conditions for a sustainable biosphere. Learners will build a biosphere that is a balanced, self-enclosed living system able to run efficiently over a long period of time. This activity is in Unit 3 of the Exploring the... (View More)

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