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Earth Science Hands-On Learning Activities and Lesson Plans
This collection of animations, demonstration projects, paper models, and other teaching tools is designed to aid in the understanding of geologic processes. Topics include sea-floor spreading and subduction, earthquakes, seismology, magnetometers, volcanoes, and wave types. Links are provided to other sites containing paper models (i.e., volcano, trilobite, nautiloid) and other geology and natural hazard information. The earthquake lesson plan includes guidelines for teacher preparation, an "in-class inquiry," and a quiz.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Classroom activity
    • Lesson plan
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geology
    • Geophysics
    • Structural geology
  • Natural hazards
  • Physics
Technical requirements:
Some resources require Adobe Acrobat reader or QuickTime.
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Use of these materials on other websites or publications should be accompanied by a source credit, and a link back to the source pages.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-001-829
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • B - Physical science:
        • Motion and forces
        • Transfer of energy
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Earth's history
        • Structure of the earth system
      • E - Science and technology:
        • Abilities of technological design
        • Understandings about sci. / tech.
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural hazards
    • 9-12:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • B - Physical science:
        • Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
        • Interactions of energy and matter
        • Motions and forces
      • D - Earth and space science:
        • Origin and evolution of the earth system
      • F - Science in personal / social perspectives:
        • Natural and human-induced hazards
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Dr John C. Lahr
USGS Geologic Hazards Team