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This section of the Windows to the Universe web site provides information and images about stars including star statistics, and a star gallery. Windows to the Universe is a user-friendly learning system pertaining to the Earth and Space sciences. The objective of this project is to develop an innovative and engaging web site that spans the Earth and Space sciences and includes a rich array of documents, ... Full description.
Grade level: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14), Informal, General public
Resource type: Illustration - artistic, Illustration - scientific, Imagery - remotely sensed, Photograph, Ref. material
Subject: Space science
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this lesson students learn to recognize the types of tephra, which include a variety of ejected volcanic products, and that the distribution and type of tephra can be used to locate an eruption source and describe the style of an eruption. Students also learn that tephra is classified by size, texture, and composition and as a result of this lesson will be able to identify and describe the origin ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Tutorial
Subject: Geology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This activity will help students in their understanding of the complexities of snowpack formation and using this data to make predictions about how particular slopes might behave. The kind of snow, the incline of the slope, and the terrain all play a role in when and where avalanches will occur. In this activity, students layer foodstuffs to mimic the strong and weak layers within a snowpack and then ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Cryology, Natural hazards
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This demonstration uses a gyroscope (a bicycle wheel works well), string, and a turntable (optional) to show how the equatorial bulge of Earth causes precession. By balancing the spinning bicycle wheel on one hand, and pulling a string attached to the top axle with the other, the axis of the wheel traces out a circle (precesses). The site also explains how the moment of inertia is related to torque ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12), College (13-14)
Resource type: Presentation / Demo
Subject: Geophysics
 
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Educational standards associated with this resource:
National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
Pedagogical help
Misconceptions: Read (1)
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This demonstration models the manner in which the convection currents in the mantle of the Earth cause movement of the plates. Convection currents in the mantle were thought, for many years, to be solely responsible for plate tectonic movements, with the movement taking rocks down at destructive margins and new rocks forming when plates spread. It is now thought likely that there are three possible ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Presentation / Demo
Subject: Structural geology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this activity students are asked for their predictions about how different water temperatures will affect movement in the ocean water column. Students will investigate the effect of water temperature on mixing in the water column. They will half fill one jar with the hottest water the faucet will provide and half fill the other jar with chilled water. After allowing the water in both jars to settle ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8)
Resource type: Lab activity
Subject: Physical oceanography
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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This article explains the difference between the three South Poles. It describes the south magnetic dip pole which is not even on the Antarctic continent, the ceremonial South Pole, and the Geographic South Pole, the marker of which is constantly on the move. The article also explains why the Geographic South Pole is resurveyed each year and the difference between the Chandler wobble and the precession ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Ref. material
Subject: Physical geography
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this activity, students will gain an understanding of how geologists determine rates of sea floor spreading between two tectonic plates. Using a strip map of the North Atlantic seafloor, they will measure distances and note the ages of the strips of seafloor basalt. They will also gain experience applying some basic, useful mathematical concepts such as the calculation and use of velocities and ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity, Guide for instructor
Subject: Geologic time, Geology, Structural geology
 
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Before the 17th century, people generally believed that Earth was at the center of the universe, a system originally developed by Ptolemy. Galileo, however, was not afraid to challenge existing beliefs when he published his work in support of the Sun-centered, or heliocentric, theory developed by Copernicus. This video segment describes the two opposing worldviews and Galileo's observation that Venus ... Full description.
Grade level: Intermediate (3-5), Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Video, Ref. material
Subject: Space science
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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In this earthquake safety classroom activity, students work in teams to build seismic safe structures. Students will try building their own structure to see if they can discover some of the features that minimize the effects on a building when the Earth shakes. Each team will build and test three structures following the instructions. After all teams finish, the class discusses features of seismic ... Full description.
Grade level: Middle (6-8), High (9-12)
Resource type: Classroom activity
Subject: Geophysics, Natural hazards, Technology
 
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National Science Education Standards (NSES): Read
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