Earth and Space Science

Teaching Earth Science for the first time

Hi Everyone, I'm new to NSTA. This fall I'll be teaching Earth Science to 8th graders for the first time. Does anyone have any suggestions for relevant activities we could do on the first day? I'm looking for something that would be content related, but also could serve as a get-to-know-eachother activity. For our state standards (VA) the first couple of weeks are dedicated to explicitly teaching "the nature of science". Thanks -Brendan

Brendan Trache
Brendan Trache
1375 Activity Points

Hi, I have been learning about get to know you activities that are content based in my education classes at UNI. There is 4 corners. Have a questions about Earth science and give 4 possible answers and the students have to go pick a corner. Then the students that are in the corners together discussion why they chose the answers. They get to know one another and why they chose the answer. Also theres a beach ball activity. You throw it to one another and what ever question there thumb lands on they answer that question. These are just a few activities/ideas for you to think about using. Hope it helps! Brooke

Brooke Bartels
Brooke Bartels
4265 Activity Points

I don't remember where I got this (possibly Facebook - or here!) but I use an inflatable globe and throw it out to a student. The student catches it and tells me how many of their fingers are touching water. They then share something about themselves and toss it to another student. Tally up the number of fingers touching water for each student and then calculate the average at the end It should be close to 70%, the amount of the planet's surface covered with water.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11285 Activity Points

I like that idea. It is very creative.  

Marisela Garza
Marisela Garza
2525 Activity Points

I love that idea! Even though I teach Kindergartners, I could use it just tallying them up and saying that earth has a lot of water. 

Angeles Rivero Loyola
Angeles Rivero Loyola
1450 Activity Points

Thanks Chris! This is an awesome idea that can be used with many grade levels!

Kim Duba
Kim Duba
380 Activity Points

This is such a great idea! Great way to get the students engaging.

Deborah Suen
Deborah Suen
1505 Activity Points

I love this idea and we all know any lesson where kids get to throw a ball around is ideal for learning! It is a great way to get them to understand the plants surface and how much is covered by water.  Thank you for sharing this!

Carmen Stearns
Carmen Stearns
85 Activity Points

Fun idea! Thanks for sharing!

Steve Kirsche
Stephen Kirsche
8985 Activity Points

That is a really cool activity! It could easily be incorporated into geography lessons too!

Dallas Aguilar
Dallas Aguilar
830 Activity Points

Wow. That sounds so fun. It proves the statistic.

Clarissa Draper
Clarissa Draper
200 Activity Points

This is a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing. I will be using this in my classroom. Not only will this activity provide an icebreaker for students to get to know each other, but they are learning content and practicing physical movement! I love it!!

Mindy Gonzalez
Mindy Gonzalez
490 Activity Points

That's a great idea!

Alina Gumbs
Alina Gumbs
315 Activity Points

I love this idea. I think visual students will benefit from this the most.

Maryan Loaiza Betancourt
Maryan Loaiza Betancourt
7530 Activity Points

Very creative idea! Will definitely use one day.

Karey McHugh
Karey McHugh
245 Activity Points

Wow, I love this idea. It is so creative. What I especially like is that it presents content in a fun and non-threatening way. I say non-threatening because as a student I was always intimidated by science and still am in some way today. This activity really is a fun way to introduce a science concept in fun way that will grab students attention and interest them.

Skye Rodriguez
Skye Rodriguez
2165 Activity Points

What a great idea! I bet they enjoy that. It's great how you took a fact and made it engaging and concrete for them. They are more likely to remember that and it even incorporates math!

Raquel Bruner
Raquel Bruner
755 Activity Points

That's a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

Rosalinda Salinas
Rosalinda Salinas
1510 Activity Points

I really like this idea. It's a good cross-curricular activity that allows students to practice both their math and science skills. I believe that to be incredibly important for student's and it also makes it easier for teachers considering the students are learning something meaningful yet they are also doing something they consider fun. Not to mention, it is also a good activity that can allow students to become comfortable with one another or to perhaps introduce a new topic. Thank you for sharing, I will definitely be using this in my future classroom.

Ashley Gonzalez
Ashley Gonzalez
2650 Activity Points

Wow, this is a great idea. Simple and get's the students engaged easily. I love how they can come up with the fact themselves without knowing it at first. They must love it and thinks it's amazing! I can see myself using this little activity in my classroom in the future.

Alexis Martinez
Alexis Martinez
2970 Activity Points

This is a neat idea! Thanks

Jodee Fuhrmann
Jodee Fuhrmann
305 Activity Points

Great idea, Thank you for sharing

Carole Moreno
Carole Moreno
8288 Activity Points

Very creative and engaging! Engages prior knowledge.

Sara Pierce
Sara Pierce
3922 Activity Points

I used this activity too.....I got the idea from the Project WET workshop I attended. Very interactive and fun for the students!

Jan Shimoda
Jan Shimoda
10 Activity Points

This is so creative. Great intro activity!

Olivia Meincke
Olivia Meincke
3754 Activity Points

Cris- I really like this idea! What a great way to make an activity fun and engaging while also very educational. This activity is sure to help students remember the important take-aways such as the % of water covering Earth's surface. I also like how it can be used as an energizer for students to get to know their peers better. Are there any other things we could teach students from this activity? I am currently a preservice teacher, but look forward to using this activity in my own classroom in the future.

Jillian Haberichter
Jillian Haberichter
3038 Activity Points

I remember doing something similar when I was only in first or second grade. The teacher had each student come up to the front of the room and spin the globe. The student would stop it with one finger and tell whether they landed on land or water. This really made an impression on me (clearly since I can still remember it vividly!)

Sadie Jackson
Sadie Jackson
275 Activity Points

I love this idea that could double as an icebreaker for students along with teaching a science concept. I like that this has students taking an active role in a fun way that will allow them to connect learned information to this activity and help them retain the knowledge in an engaging way.

Melanie McGill
Melanie McGill
3310 Activity Points

What a cool idea! I will pass along to my 6th grade team!

Rebecca Manning
Rebecca Manning
40 Activity Points

I think this is such an interesting idea! Not only is it something you could do with 8th graders but even younger I'm sure. I'm wondering if this works every/almost every time? This would be a wonderful way to get students engaged and interested in bodies of water. The ocean is a topic that really intrigues me and I think would be a great introduction to a lesson. Thank you for sharing!

Mallory Van Winkle
Mallory Van Winkle
3190 Activity Points

I think this is a great idea!

BreAnna Winzer
BreAnna Winzer
565 Activity Points

Chris- This is such a neat idea! In my schooling, I have done many get to know each other activities and many of them included throwing a ball around. This is a great activity for students to get to know one another, but also include science. While the students pass the inflatable globe they could say their name and something about themselves. After they do this they could say how many fingers are touching the water and then tally them. I love how the average will be close to 70% and that is the amount of the planet's surface covered with water! Awesome post and I can't wait to do this in my future classroom!

Kelsey Ettleman
Kelsey Ettleman
3719 Activity Points

Hi! I love this idea! I have actually played this game!

Kia Shields
Kia Shields
3192 Activity Points

I really like this idea. As a soon to be new teacher, I need all the ideas I can get. I really like this idea because it's so interactive with the students and gets them engaged in the lesson. It also get them interest in learning more about science, which is amazing. I will be adding this idea to my teaching bucket. Thank you!

Kelsey Katcher
Kelsey Katcher
3344 Activity Points

That's an awesome idea! Thanks!

Brendan Trache
Brendan Trache
1375 Activity Points

Hello, The first day can be challenging but in all a great day for everyone to get to know each other. You could have the students write down where there are from and an earth science fact about the area( your topic). Since a lot of the students are going to be from the same area you have some students do the same for a place they may have visited before. Then have start to randomly toss around a ball and have the student stand up give 1 fact about themselves and their science fact. I hope this helps !

Asya Ammons
Asya Ammons
1065 Activity Points

Hi Brendan, I think I may be able to help. I have been developing a YouTube Channel called FunScienceDemos which is home to hundreds of free science demonstrations for young learners. They are all common core aligned and can easily be recreated in the classroom. They cover a variety of topics and any of these demonstrations would catch your students' attention and get them engaged in the science lesson. Check it out and subscribe to our channel. https://www.youtube.com/user/funsciencedemos Best, Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

George Mehler
George Mehler
725 Activity Points

Leslie Bolton
leslie bolton
405 Activity Points

Great idea about the inflatable globe!

Melissa Leal
Melissa Leal
1465 Activity Points

What a great way to start a lesson. This is great for a Set to get the student's thinking about the topic as well as engaged and using prior knowledge about the topic. I really enjoyed reading this and it is a great little way to encourage students. 

Janelle Sardinas
Janelle Sardinas
1840 Activity Points

What a great way to start a lesson. This is great for a Set to get the student's thinking about the topic as well as engaged and using prior knowledge about the topic. I really enjoyed reading this and it is a great little way to encourage students. 

Janelle Sardinas
Janelle Sardinas
1840 Activity Points

Danielle Bergstrom
Dani Bergstrom
1160 Activity Points

This is a great way to access students prior knowledge and to engage them in the lesson. 

Adriana Castillo
Adriana Castillo
1015 Activity Points

We do this activity also, but actually figure the percentages mathematically. We toss the inflatable globe 100 times and record whether the thumb hits land or water. The percentages are really easy to figure for elementary students. They always seem to work out! About 70% water and 30 % land. Afterward students really want to spend time researching and adding more information to what they thought they knew about water and land on Earth. You can do this in small groups and compare data as well.

Frieda Lamprecht
Frieda Lamprecht
1555 Activity Points

Wow! I should really try and see if I can get those same results with the inflatable globe. I want to see how many repetitions it would take to start getting those results. 

Jonathan Marin
Jonathan Marin
435 Activity Points

I really like that globe idea! It really would make them think about how much of the Earth is composed of water!

Lily Walden
Lily Walden
65 Activity Points

Hi! I really like the globe idea as well. It's very informative, yet it keeps the students attention because it requires that they pay attention to where the globe is being tossed in the classroom. Perfect for all of those little active learners :)This is a great class activity for a lot of grade levels, especially the second graders that I hope to teach one day!

Becky Cady
Becky Cady
1575 Activity Points

Agreed, this is definitely something I can teach my students when they get back to class. gamble her med spilleautomater og bli en vinner.

Benjamin Golan
Benjamin Golan
10 Activity Points

I'm a new science teacher (third grade). I'm looking for ideas for hands on activities for teaching the 3 types of rocks.

Athena Matte-Breaux
Athena Matte-Breaux
415 Activity Points

What a great idea Cris!! It's a fun and entertaining way to learn the bodies of water and any other features of the world!

Jennifer Rosales
Jennifer Rosales
830 Activity Points

Once my niece, who is only six years old, asked me: "Emily, tell me, please, is that truth  the earth is round?" I was surprised and confused, what to answer to my little Interested in the world girl. Then she wanted me to prove this is true! It was very stiff tast for me. I even think now about science that is more hard and complicated to explain everything to little children then to make dissertation or soon.

Emily Puttock
Emily Puttock
125 Activity Points

Teaching Earth Science for the first time is such an exhilarating experience for a teacher like me. I really enjoyed reading this and it has great tips to encourage students to learn more about the subject. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmpaqbwQy6Q

Hunter Pugh
Hunter Pugh
10 Activity Points

long sought this site, thanks to the author, I am pleased to join your community!

Malkova Mali
Malkova Mali
20 Activity Points

useful information, thanks to the author!

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Ted Hunter
20 Activity Points

I do this lab with my 8th graders in Iowa. Enjoy! https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2qSM9ps9SCKb1g1ODNzbThmVHM/view?usp=sharing

Valerie Southgate
Valerie Southgate
50 Activity Points

This activity comes from (or at least one source for it) Project Wet, which includes an impressive collection of activities for teaching about water. You have to be certified from a training to access the whole curriculum, but even without you can find some interesting ideas. http://www.projectwet.org/

Rebecca Blumenthal
Becky Blumenthal
170 Activity Points

Hi! I have heard about Project Wet and looked at an activities book from one of their conferences. One activities I have done is the path of a water drop. Stations are set up around the room such as Ground Water, River, Cloud, etc. Students are given a pipe cleaner and roll a dice at each station to determine which path they will go. At each station, students will pick up a bead and put it on their pipe cleaner. Students can have 5-10 mins to go to each station. At the end, students will have a pipe cleaner full of colorful beads. The goal of the lesson is for students to understand that no one water drop has the same path.

Kia Shields
Kia Shields
3192 Activity Points

There are some activities that I found online. I hope the website can give you some ideas.

Attachments

Chien Hui Chen
CHIEN HUI CHEN
850 Activity Points

Thanks so much!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
85619 Activity Points

This website is very helpful and does offer engaging experiments and activities for students. Thanks!

Kia Shields
Kia Shields
3192 Activity Points

Thank you very much for the link. I love the activity for Products from Petroleum. It has a twist where some teachers forget to mention when covering Energy types.

Hadeel Alrubaye Barries
Hadeel Alrubaye Barries
1010 Activity Points

Now that the first day is well over, how did it go? How are you feeling about it now?

Cara Cook
Cara Cook
5795 Activity Points

Hello there!! Congratulations on teaching 8th graders! I am sure you are doing a great! Earth Science is such a fantastic subject with endless possibilities of hands on activities!

Lorena Solis
Lorena Solis
820 Activity Points

I am too nervous about teaching this topic in early elementary when they are fresh to the topic, but I saw some great ideas on here to help. Thanks ya!

Yoksiana Zacarias
yoksiana zacarias
775 Activity Points

With our Hawaii State Standards I started out our 3rd grade Water Cycle with that activity. We'd sit in a circle and toss the inflatable globe around and when the students caught it, where ever their right thumb is on the ball (you can use whatever fingers you choose, but keep in mind it needs to be a constant variable), we'd keep a tally mark of land or water. Usually the results should end of with 70% more water. The next thing I do is come up with a list of places on Earth that fresh water can be found (atmosphere, glaciers & icebergs, ground water, soil, rivers & streams, lakes (from the top of my head I can't think of the last one if there is one...lol). Anyhow, we do a visual experiment of how much fresh water is in each of those places (there is a resource online if you search water cycle or fresh water on Earth). This teaches the students: 1) how much fresh water is actually available to us, 2) Why we need to take care of Earth and not waste water. The next activity I do is a water cycle game in which the students pretend to be a single water drop and they travel through different water cycles depending on the luck of the draw (they roll a dice and the number tells them where to go next or remain in the same place). This game teaches them how water moves around earth through the water cycle steps: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Collection, etc...

Avory Abordonado
Avory Abordonado
485 Activity Points

Hi! I have played a similar game to your second activity. Instead of the steps of Evaporation, Condensation, etc, the stations were Ground Water, Cloud, River, Animal, etc. Students were to roll a dice to see which location them as a water droplet would go to. The goal is for students to understand that no one water droplet travels the same path.

Kia Shields
Kia Shields
3192 Activity Points

Another great way to integrate sciences is to do activities on sand. I'm from Hawaii, so we are surrounded by sand, but there are many different components that make up the sand, some of which are living, and some not. Dissecting microscopes can be used to separate out different components. Magnets are good too. And of course, vinegar reacts with the calcium carbonate. Concepts in physical science, biology, chemistry, physics, marine science and earth and space science can all be learned utilizing sand! While listening to NPR last week, I learned that next to air and water, SAND is the most used natural resource, and that due to the explosion of construction in places like India, China and Kenya, we are facing a global sand crisis. Sand is used to make all concrete, glass, and also computer chips. However, not all sand is alike. The sand in Hawaii is not granite sand, so isn't used to make glass or computer chips. Engineering questions can also be tackled using sand. In my science department, as we are finally moving toward full implementation of NGSS, we are considering using the formation of sand as a "phenomenon" to be investigated across all science disciplines in some way.

Cecelia Romero
Cecelia Romero
2379 Activity Points

Thanks for the suggestion Cecilia!

Maybe I'm wishing I was back on the beach, but your comment about sand reminded me of a few resources.

Start with Science describes how sand became the focus for many investigations. This was published in Science & Children, but I think there are ideas for secondary classrooms, too. Especially if students think that sand is only found at the ocean.
http://static.nsta.org/files/sc1209_32.pdf

The Science of Sand is a collection of images and data from sand samples submitted by people from around the world! It was started by a teacher and his students. (Several of the samples from DE beaches are mine!)
http://www.scienceofsand.info

Mary B.

Mary Bigelow
Mary Bigelow
7775 Activity Points

Hi Brendan, Good luck with your first year as a teacher! NSTA has a lot of cool resources you could look into, such as their SciPacks. They have one dedicated to the Universe and one dedicated to the Solar System. Both seem very insightful to what you will be teaching and can hopefully help out a lot.

Vanessa Gonzalez
Vanessa Gonzalez
755 Activity Points

Its a great idea and a perfect way to start or even end a lesson, I know that most students will really enjoy that lesson.

Johnatan Gonzalez
Johnatan Gonzalez
370 Activity Points

This is such a great idea. The students are engaged with a topic in Earth Science and telling something interesting about themselves. The students will not even realize that they are learning material.

Alex Stammen
Alex Stammen
570 Activity Points

Such a a great idea! If you have any ideas for lunar phases activities please share. 

DIANE TERIAKY
DIANE TERIAKY
340 Activity Points

I have been learning about different "icebreaker" activities to do with my future students through my education classes. One idea I remember learning about is to have all the students take out a blank piece of paper. Tell them NOT to write their name on it.Give the students a few questions to answer on their pieces of paper that are both science and non-science related. Questions such as; What is one thing you did over the summer? How many siblings do you have? When you think of Earth Science, what do you think of? What is your favorite part about science? After the students have their answers, tell them to crinkle their papers into a ball, much like a snowball. When you say go have the students throw their snowballs around the room, much like a controlled snowball fight. When you say stop have the students all pick up one snowball that is not their own. The students will silently read the snowball they have found and try to figure out whose snowball they have. Once they figure out whose snowball they have, everyone will sit back down and then everyone will share at least one thing written on their new snowball. This is a great way for the students to get to know each other, but also you to get to know the students and some of their thoughts and feelings about science!

Kennedy Carber
Kennedy Carber
3730 Activity Points

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