Computer Activity

NASA's Sally Ride EarthKAM Activity

Sally Ride EarthKAM (Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students) is a NASA educational outreach program that enables students, teachers, and the public to learn about Earth from the unique perspective of space.

During Sally Ride EarthKAM missions (periods when the Sally Ride EarthKAM camera is operational), middle school students around the world request images of specific locations on Earth.

Utilizing Google Earth to Teach Students About Global Oil Spill Disasters

There are websites and curricular materials to assist teachers with classroom instruction relating to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  Although it is important for students to be familiar with the current disaster, it is just as important for students to examine the historic occurrence and context of past oil spills from across the globe.  Fortunately, a Google Earth file exists that contains location information and details of oil spills.  We have modified this file to assist teachers in engaging students to explore the spatial and temporal distribution of global oil spill disasters.

Investigating Streamflow in the Schuylkill River

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.

Where and how do we find planets on the sky?

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.

Mountain Building: Exploring Topography Along Plate Boundaries with GeoMapApp

GeoMapApp is a free, map-based data exploration and visualization tool (see  Using this tool, we can explore how comparison of topography along different boundaries, both ancient and active, can provide a means for students to grasp the immense spatial scales involved in earth processes.