iBooks in Earth & Space Science

iBooks in Earth & Space Science

This collection looks to help teachers utilize iPad technology in their classrooms, specifically the iBooks App, as an instructional tool for Earth and space science.  The free Apple software iBooks Author was used to create the following electronic books for the iPad, focusing on a variety of Earth and space science content and issues.

Additional iBooks recommended for classroom use and available for free in the iTunes store include:

  • Moon Rocks: An Introduction to the Geology of the Moon, by Andrew G. Tindle & Simon P. Kelley
  • The Interactive Space Book, by Graham K. Wright
  • Ocean Mapbook, by Ocean and Design


Controversies in the Hydrosphere: an iBook exploring current global water issues for middle school classrooms

Contributed by Abbey Dufoe, Penn State University

This iBook contains case studies on a variety of controversial issues impacting the hydrosphere. The iBook includes image slideshows, embedded videos, interactive images and quizzes, and critical thinking questions along Bloom’s Taxonomic Scale of Learning Objectives. Outlined in the introductory iBook chapters are the Big Ideas of Earth System Science and an overview of Earth’s spheres. Since the book targets the hydrosphere, each subsequent chapter focuses on specific water issues, including glacial melts, aquifer depletion, coastal oil pollution, marine debris, and freshwater chemical contamination. Each chapter is presented in a case study format that highlights the history of the issue, the development and current status of the issue, and some solutions that have been generated. The next section includes critical thinking questions in an open-ended discussion format that focus on the Big Ideas, proposing solutions for rectifying the situation, and/or assignments specifically targeting an idea presented in the case study chapter. Short, comprehensive multiple-choice quizzes are also in each chapter. Throughout the iBook, students are free to watch videos, explore the content and form their own opinions.  The font used in the book is of sufficient size for a teacher to display the book to a classroom via a screen projector.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Contributed by Abbey Dufoe, Penn State University

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is a case study addressing the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico from April 2010.  Each section of the case study provides a unique look into various factors that impact or are still being impacted by the oil spill. The end of this case study includes critical thinking questions to inspire conversations about the sudden environmental change and to encourage readers to propose solutions for further educating and raising awareness of the Gulf. This iBook also features a time-lapse slide show of the oil spill, along with short review quizzes and supplemental resources. The iBook contains content relating to the oil spill as released up to November 28, 2012.

It is hoped that the readers of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill iBook will be engaged with this innovative technological presentation and disseminate the content with others. The font used in the book is of sufficient size for a teacher to display the book to a classroom via a screen projector or have student self-explore on individual iPads.

iBook supplements to Earth: The Operator's Manual, Powering the Planet, and Energy Quest USA

Contributed by Abbey Dufoe, Penn State University

In 2012, PBS showed three hour-long videos, hosted by Penn State Professor of Geosciences Dr. Richard Alley, addressing the challenges of climate change and proposing sustainable energy solutions.  The three videos are summarized on the ETOM website: "Earth: The Operators' Manual dispenses with politics, polemics or punditry; instead, it presents an objective, accessible assessment of the Earth’s problems and possibilities that will leave viewers informed, energized and optimistic. Powering the Planet offers case studies of nations such as Brazil, China and Denmark that have begin the transition away from fossil fuel, and Energy Quest USA showcases positive steps being taken in five very different U.S. communities: Alaska, Kansas, Fort Worth (Texas), Baltimore (Maryland) and Portland (Oregon.)"

This trio of iBooks includes a collection of video segments from each video, along with supporting links to social media resources, and an appendix that contains a link to the full-length video found online.  Each video segment can be viewed by students individually on iPads or shown by a teacher in a classroom with an iPad connected to a LCD projector.  Ranging from two-to-seven minutes in length, each video segment can serve as a starting point for classroom discussions and writing prompts.

One-Minute Readings

This iBook presents a collection of relevant, real-world issues from across the globe and across all of Earth's spheres.  Each issue presented in the readings, from wind power to landslides, has a set of critical thinking questions for individual response or classroom discussion.

To download these iBook to your iPad, view this webpage using Safari on an iPad, click on a file below and the iBook will automatically open in your iBooks App.


iBooks in Earth & Space Science Files
Controversies in the Hydrosphere iBook - 32 MB
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill iBook - 26 MB
Earth: The Operators' Manual iBook - 115 MB
ETOM: Powering the Planet iBook - 20 MB
ETOM: Energy Quest USA iBook - 20MB
One Minute Readings iBook - 28MB