PAESTA Classroom

Designed for the sharing of short classroom exercises and explorations, this database allows for teachers to search for materials and resources that you, the PAESTA membership, have tested in the classroom. The database contains short descriptions and examples of activities members have conducted with students, such as inquiry-based assignments to reinforce specific content, or as an extension exercise to increase the graphic literacy of students.

The database will be of the most use if you, the PAESTA membership, contribute the classroom-tested resources you have developed! Please consider writing up your innovative approach to teaching a specific topic for inclusion in this database. Descriptions should include the objectives of the exercise and why this approach was used.

Please be sure the materials you submit do not infringe on copyright or intellectual property rights – links and/or citations to original sources are required. Submitted examples will be reviewed before being placed online.

You can select one or more subject areas and/or grade levels.

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by Laura Guertin on August 27, 2013.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Ocean Service has an Office of Response and Restoration that publishes a series of Environmental Sensitivity Index Maps (ESI Maps). [See More Information About ESI Maps]

by Laura Guertin on August 27, 2013.

The GLOBE program has created activities to accompany the GLOBE Earth System Poster "Exploring Connections in Year 2007" to have students identify global patterns and connections in environmental data contained in the poster.  Images displaying global environmental data (insolation, surface temperature, cloud fraction, precipitation, aerosols, and the biosphere) through the course of 2007 are compared in order to understand how the Earth works as a system.

by Laura Guertin on August 27, 2013.

There are many variations of this exercise to have students generate the plot to the left, but I follow the Carbon Dioxide Exercise from the SERC website, where "Students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years.

by Laura Guertin on August 27, 2013.

NOTE: Teachers may want to start with the PAESTA Classroom exercise Investigating Streamflow in the Schuylkill River and then use this one as a follow on.

by Laura Guertin on August 27, 2013.

This exercise is presented in a jigsaw format but can be easily scaled to lower grade levels, where students prepare and/or are presented just one graph from one location for one period of time.  Note that once the data is accessed on the USGS website, the data can be downloaded to work with in Excel, or (as this exercise suggests) a data table can be printed off for students to create graphs from.  To help students visualize the units in which streamflow is measured, cubic feet per second (cfs), I bring to class a 1 ft x 1 ft x 1 ft box to show them what a cubic foot looks like.

by Laura Guertin on August 27, 2013.

A cemetery provides an ideal location for student investigative research. Cemeteries are easily accessible in all communities and provide a field location for a non-cookbook style of laboratory activity. Students can examine tombstone weathering rates, reinforcing rock identification. Students may collect cemetery demographic data, comparing the longevity and survivorship data with local environmental events and impacts.

by Katie Bateman on August 26, 2013.

by Chris Palma on August 13, 2013.

The purpose of this lesson is to see how astronomers use crater counts (more precisely, crater densities) to estimate the age of an object’s surface and how, from that, we can infer that impacts were very important in the early history of the Solar System

by Chris Palma on August 12, 2013.

There are two goals for this activity - the first is to introduce a particular piece of planetarium software we used in our instructional setting, called Starry Night.  The scientific goal is to see that the planets (and perhaps other Solar System objects, like Ceres & Eris) show a pattern in their location on the sky, which is that they are always along (or near) the Ecliptic, which runs through the Zodiac constellations.

by Katie Bateman on August 2, 2013.

In this activity students will make claims prior to seeing any data and complete a mapping activity that creates a geological time scale to help them use evidence to support or refute their claims. 

This classroom exercise is intended to be an introductory Earth Science activity to prepare students to look at time on the large scale and to discuss plate tectonics and rock records.