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 Gregory Collins on May 24, 2013.

Using real-time or near-real-time data in the classroom can form the basis for exciting guided inquiry lessons that build necessary scientific thinking skills. Choosing data from recent newsworthy events also motivates students to learn because they feel personally connected to the observations surrounding such events.

by Eliza Richardson on May 21, 2013.

The ability to visualize features of the Earth in three-dimensional space, and to conceptualize how these features change over long timescales, is a crucial skill for geoscientists. Here I present an exercise that is specifically designed to build geometrical visualization skills while exposing students to authentic real-time data.

by Chris Palma on April 24, 2013.

The lesson explores the idea of a SuperMoon and is designed to demonstrate that the Moon’s orbit around the Sun is not circular but elliptical.  

Instructions and Image files for the Super Moon activity are included below as word and pdf files.

by Abbey Dufoe on April 7, 2013.

For this exercise, students utilize a Google Earth file to explore three different sets of Wonders of the World: The Ancient Wonders, the Modern Wonders, and the New 7 Wonders. Included is a student workshop with short-answer questions for the various sites and some summary questions that require students to pull information from across the exercise.

by Laura Guertin on April 4, 2013.

Students are directed to open specific pre-existing layers under "Global Awareness" in Google Earth - Appalachian Mountaintop Removal, and UNEP: Atlas of Our Changing Environment.  No additional Google Earth files are required, as students can complete the exercise using the available Layers in the Google Earth program (available as a free download from

by Theresa Lewis-King on April 3, 2013.

This lesson was used as an inquiry activity to allow students to analyze recorded Near Surface Average Temperature data in order to make claims about the differences between seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres of the Earth. Students were additionally asked to construct a Temperature vs. Month line graph from a set of recorded data to determine if there was an observable difference between average temperatures in the Northern Hemispere and the Southern Hemisphere.

Weather and Climate Unit Big Idea

(School District of Philadelphia)

by Theresa Lewis-King on April 3, 2013.

This lesson can be used to engage students in the study of the world's climate zones by helping them identify places on the world globe.

The Latitude and Longitude Scavenger Hunt activity provides students with a review of reading lines of latitude and longitude on a globe. This activity can also be used to pre-assess student understanding of how lines of latitude and longitude help locate and identify specific places on Earth.

by Theresa Lewis-King on April 3, 2013.

This web-based lesson is a culminating activity to the Weather and Climate unit taught in 7th grade. I used the resources on the Teacher's Domain website to construct a booklet for students as a webquest. The website provides students with information about the world location (longitude and latitude),  average temperature, and average precipitation of different biomes. Students had to conduct additonal research to identify  the specific animals and plants native to each biomes and the organism's adaptations necessary for survival.

by Laura Guertin on March 31, 2013.

This logic problem in a grid format is designed to help students develop logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. In addition to developing skill sets, the content knowledge of the students will be increased in the area of the names and locations of surface oceanographic currents. Extension exercises have students address the geographic and temperature distribution across currents and ocean basins.

by Nicole Vishio on March 29, 2013.

Students will become experts on the plate tectonics of a specific region, by either researching volcanic activity or earthquake activity associated with the tectonic activity of a specific region. 

Students will use Diigo, a social bookmarking site, to collaborate on and manage their research online. 

Students will also create and deliver a 15 minute oral presentation using MS Powerpoint or Google Presenter to share what they have learned and help them manage the flow of their presentation.

Students will: