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Teacher/Tutor - Science

Earth and Space Science


Earth and space science explores the structure of the earth system, Earth’s history, the solar system, the origin and evolution of the universe, and geochemical cycles.

Be sure to look at the different set of resources listed at the Student/Learner webpage for this topic.

Screen shot from siteAthena–Earth and Space Science for K-12: Oceans, Earth, Weather, Space, and More
This project is funded by NASA's Public Use of Remote Sensing Data, now part of the Learning Technologies Project. The curricular section includes lists of links to "instructional material" and "resource material", nicely organized into the sections listed in the title. The webpages for teachers include a new user guide, introductory materials, and suggestions for presentations.

Screen shot from siteAuroras–Paintings in the Sky
The Exploratorium and the Science Learning Network provide this excellent website about auroras. There is a self-guided tour of the subject, excellent links to websites with real-time data, and a brief teachers’ guide. Don’t miss the Aurora Borealis daily forecast from the University of Alaska

Screen shot from siteBridge–Ocean Sciences Education Teacher Resource Center
This website aims to give teachers a selection of the best online resources for marine science education. There are sections on biology, physics, geology, chemistry, climate, and technology–all related to the world’s oceans! There are links to lesson plan collections and online expeditions.

Screen shot from siteThe Earth and Moon Viewer
This site allows for viewing a map of the Earth showing the current day and night regions, or viewing the Earth from the Sun or the Moon. The user can choose to view any location on the planet specified by latitude, longitude and altitude, by a particular satellite in Earth orbit, or above various cities around the globe. The shape of the day/night regions changes as the orbit of the Earth changes relative to the sun. Given a globe (with the appropriate tilt of the Earth on its axis), a light source, and this website, learners will be able to explain the reasons why seasons occur on Earth. This site uses the Universal Time Clock, so it leads to interesting discussions about time and world time zones.

Screen shot from siteEarth from Space: An Astronaut’s Views of the Home Planet
This is a database of selected imagery of Earth from space, including physical features, processes, and cities as seen by astronauts. There are several ways to search the database, including a clickable map. Each illustration has a caption with a description of the image. This website is a useful resource in teaching and learning about weather, habitat, landscapes, regions, and Earth-human interactions. The website is also useful as a springboard to writing and research.

Screen shot from siteEarth Observatory
The purpose of NASA's Earth Observatory is to provide a website with public access to satellite imagery and scientific information about our home planet. The focus is on Earth's climate and environmental change, with wonderful data and images. The categories include atmosphere, oceans, land, life on Earth, heat & energy, and remote sensing. There is an excellent glossary, and news features. One can subscribe to a weekly distribution list of the latest stories about the Earth. The type at this website is very small, and some of the information is text dense. However, it is worth it to visit here!

Earthquake Hazards Program
The U.S. Geological Survey maintains this website, complete with many resources and up-to-date information about earthquakes. The webpages provide resources for teachers on the topics of earth structure, earthquakes, plate tectonics, seismic waves, and earthquake preparedness. There are activities and curricular materials. Maps, graphs, and tables are available for instructional purposes. On the day of the recent earthquake in Seattle (2/28/01), this website had excellent information about it within 15 minutes of the quake!

Screen shot from siteEl Niño-Making Sense of the Weather
This contribution from NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise presents short, well-illustrated explanations for El Niño, the Southern Oscillation, global wind patterns, and condensation. There are three short weather-related science activities, using everyday materials. These activities encourage prediction, observation, and analysis. The explanations and instructions are clear and well-written.

Screen shot from siteEyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground
This website contains a collection of hands-on astronomy activities for children. The explanations and diagrams are clear. Many of the activities are appropriate for adults. In addition, this is excellent background material for an instructor. An instructor would need to review and revise some of the activities’ directions and materials to make the language age-neutral. Topics include Earth’s Rotation, Earth’s Orbit, Time and the Calendar, Maps and Mapping, the Solar System, and the Moon.

Screen shot from siteFind that Planet
This website is part of the Science Education Gateway project. It provides learners with all the online resources needed in order to find a planet in the night skies at any time of year.

Screen shot from siteFranklin’s Forecast
The Franklin Institute and the Science Learning Network provide a wealth of information, activities, and resources having to do with weather.

Screen shot from siteGeology Labs Online
This website has web-based virtual lab activities designed for learners to be an active part of scientific investigations. The activities are aimed at a high school and college level–some activities are quite sophisticated, so it is a good idea for instructors to read them and adapt for class use. See Virtual Earthquake and Virtual River Flooding.

Screen shot from siteNASA Observatorium
This website, newly revised, is even better than an earlier version. It is a public access site for Earth and space data. There are sections on aeronautics, spaceflight, space science, and Planet Earth.

Within each of these sections there are explanations, activities, and opportunities for teaching basic skills in interesting contexts. For example, a section on the topic of the Million Man March in 1995 demonstrates the method of estimating crowd size by using aerial photographs, an application of remote-sensing imagery. There is a good teachers’ guide for every topic on this website. The guides include summaries of the topic, questions for discussion, other activities, vocabulary definitions, a quiz, and links to related subjects and websites. At this site there is also an image gallery, in which one can go around the world in eighty scenes or one can stay within the U.S. and visit each of the 50 state capitals via a clickable map.

Screen shot from siteNational Hurricane Data Center–Tropical Prediction Center
This website, produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, contains up-to-date information about hurricanes with sections on preparedness, satellite imagery, forecasting models, and historical information. This is the place to go for hurricane data, especially when there is an active storm system. In the storm season, the website can be overwhelmed by use. Users are directed to other websites at that time.

Screen shot from siteNational Weather Service-Interactive Weather Information Network
This is a wonderful source of information in many areas: local weather (a "clickable map"allows one to get hourly weather readings in seven categories), national and world weather, and national weather warnings or advisories. This site is user-friendly; start here for explorations about weather.

Screen shot from siteThe Nine Planets-A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System
This site, created by Bill Arnett, is a comprehensive resource for Earth and space science. The website contains an overview of each planet, with history, mythology, scientific information, and wonderful images, diagrams, and movies. A glossary is included in the site. It has been used as a model site with which learners can practice website navigation skills.

Ocean Drifters: Investigating Ocean Currents
The ocean is constantly in motion. Ocean water moves in waves, tides, and currents. But how, exactly? That’s what scientists want to know. This site explains current technology and provides three learning activities.

The Science Education Gateway is a series of "learning adventures" in Earth and space science. The site is designed for "teachers, students, home-schoolers, and all science fans". SEGWAY is a public resource center of the Science Information Infrastructure, a partner with NASA’s Learning Technologies Project. This is a collaborative effort among museums, researchers, and educators. There are "Resource Toolkits" for space science, light, cycles, Sun and Earth, weather, and the solar system. Each toolkit contains complete lesson modules as well as a grab bag of activities, images, and interactive tools. The toolkits also contain templates for making online lessons.

Screen shot from siteStargazers
This NASA website contains information and educational activities related to Earth-Sun connections and the “Living with a Star” project.

Screen shot from siteTEA–Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic
Each year, the National Science Foundation selects a few teachers to accompany scientific field research expeditions to the Arctic and the Antarctic. Each teacher writes a daily online journal, complete with photos and activities, when possible. This website provides links to the teachers currently at the poles, so that learners can send email messages to them (and receive answers)! There are activities for classroom use, and an archive of past expeditions to the poles!

Screen shot from siteVolcano World
This comprehensive site has images, maps, a glossary, virtual tours, and data about current and historic volcanic eruptions. There is a teacher’s guide of 16 different earth science lesson guides from reputable sources. There are very specific demonstration activities as well, such as the ll different hands-on experiments in building volcano models.


To submit ideas and resources for this section, please contact Susan Cowles.