Earth Science Week

Earth Science Week
Earth science is a broad field of study that explores the way the forces of our planet intersect. Included in its domains are geology, the study of the earth's surface and its interior; oceanography, the study of the oceans; and meteorology, the study of weather and climates. (Some also include astronomy as a sub-branch of earth science.)

Earth Science Week 2018 runs from October 14 to 20. The goal of this annual celebration, now celebrating its 21st year, is to promote understanding and appreciation of the value of earth science research and its applications and relevance to our daily lives. This year's theme is "Earth as Inspiration," which emphasizes artistic expression as a unique, powerful opportunity for geoscience education and understanding in the 21st century. See the Earth Science Week website to learn more about the various Focus Days during the week, each of which highlight a topic relating to the theme, from International Earthcache Day and No Child Left Inside Day to Geologic Map Day and International Archaeology Day.

These Science NetLinks resources offer students a plethora of opportunities to learn more about the various aspects of earth science.
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  • Erupting Volcanoes!

    Erupting Volcanoes!

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson students explore volcanoes by building a model of one.
  • Rock Hunters

    Rock Hunters

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    Students will observe rocks and, through their observations, begin to develop an understanding that there are many types of rocks with a multitude of different attributes.
  • Sampling Rocks

    Sampling Rocks

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will collect and analyze a sample of rocks from the schoolyard.
  • Wonderful Waves

    Wonderful Waves

    K-2  |  Hands-On
    This lesson is designed to allow students to create a wave model using two different types of simple models.
  • Measuring Cloud Coverage

    Measuring Cloud Coverage

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students review what clouds are and then use fractions to describe cloud coverage.
  • Model Volcanoes

    Model Volcanoes

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students will explore volcanoes through drawings and building models.
  • Shape It Up

    Shape It Up

    3-5  |  Interactive
    This lesson explores how the earth’s landscape features change and always have through forces of nature such as wind, water, glaciation, and volcanism.
  • The Water Cycle

    The Water Cycle

    3-5  |  Hands-On
    This lesson will help students understand the continuous cycle that water undergoes as it changes form.
  • Earthquakes


    In this lesson, students examine how earthquakes follow the natural plate boundaries and how these boundaries help us predict where earthquakes are most likely to occur.
  • The Four Seasons

    The Four Seasons

    This lesson helps students understand that it is the tilt of the earth's axis that causes the seasons.
  • Great Rivers 1: The Nature of Great Rivers

    Great Rivers 1: The Nature of Great Rivers

    In this lesson, students are shown the basics of the water cycle. They are introduced to the concept that flowing water carries materials such as silt, plankton, leaves, and wood. They also learn how rivers and the materials that they carry define how they look and act.
  • Models of the Water Cycle

    Models of the Water Cycle

    6-8  |  Interactive
    In this lesson, students develop an understanding of the water cycle by building and evaluating two different physical models.
  • Oceans


    6-8  |  Hands-On
    This lesson helps students obtain a better perception of earth's oceans and to understand earth's water cycle.
  • Soil Erosion

    Soil Erosion

    6-8  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students explore and verify that soil erosion is affected by the makeup of the soil using plant roots, rocks, and the slope of the land as experimental factors.
  • Abrupt Climate Change

    Abrupt Climate Change

    In this lesson, students explore how scientific knowledge changes in the context of abrupt climate change.
  • Air Masses

    Air Masses

    In this lesson, students develop an understanding of air masses and the role they play in weather and climate.
  • Technology and Oil

    Technology and Oil

    6-8  |  Interactive
    This lesson demonstrates how much our society depends on petroleum products and shows how advances in technology have allowed us to find, obtain, and transport oil more efficiently.
  • Earth Movers

    Earth Movers

    9-12  |  Hands-On
    In this lesson, students explore plate tectonics and to understand how mountains, earthquakes, and volcanoes are related to the movements of plates.


  • Exploring Caves

    Exploring Caves

    K-5  |  Teaching Aid
    Exploring Caves is an interdisciplinary set of materials on caves.
  • Animated guide: Hurricanes

    Animated guide: Hurricanes

    3-8  |  Website
    Animated guides: Hurricanes is one of three animated guides to the world’s most devastating phenomena found on the BBC website.
  • Shape It Up!

    Shape It Up!

    3-8  |  Interactive
    This interactive from Kinetic City provides students with the opportunity to experience how mountains, rivers, and canyons were formed.
  • The Water Cycle at Work

    The Water Cycle at Work

    3-8  |  Website
    This animated illustration serve as an introduction of the water cycle.
  • The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc

    The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc

    6-12  |  Website
    This resource is devoted exclusively to Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave, located in the south of France at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardeche), northwest of Marseilles.
  • Oil Refining: A Closer Look

    Oil Refining: A Closer Look

    9-12  |  Video
    This resource contains a video and an interactive explaining how petroleum was formed and how it is processed.

Science Updates

  • The Core

    The Core

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, hear about a proposal to send a robotic probe to the rim of the earth's fiery core.
  • Cyclone Drift

    Cyclone Drift

    6-12  |  Audio
    Cyclones have been peaking in intensity closer and closer to the poles over the last 30 years.
  • Earth Simulator

    Earth Simulator

    6-12  |  Audio
    Learn how scientists are using the Earth Simulator, the most powerful supercomputer on the planet, to model Earth's climate.
  • Globetrotting Swells

    Globetrotting Swells

    6-12  |  Audio
    Scientists are learning how weather around the world is interconnected.
  • Gold Mine Quakes

    Gold Mine Quakes

    6-12  |  Audio
    Studying small earthquakes earthquakes in gold mines can help scientists learn more about major earthquakes.
  • High Pressure

    High Pressure

    6-12  |  Audio
    Learn how models help scientists study difficult environments like the earth's interior.
  • Hurricanes


    6-12  |  Audio
    Hurricanes cycle through long periods of high and low activity.
  • Ocean Plastics

    Ocean Plastics

    6-12  |  Audio
    Scientists are getting a better handle on how much plastic we put into the oceans and what effects it’s having.
  • Predicting Earthquakes

    Predicting Earthquakes

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn how a master model of Southern California geology can help predict earthquakes.
  • Quake Side Effects

    Quake Side Effects

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, learn why days are now 3 millionths of a second shorter because of the earthquake that caused the tsunamis in southeast Asia.
  • Raindrop Fossils

    Raindrop Fossils

    6-12  |  Audio
    Fossilized raindrop impressions, preserved for 2.7 billion years, may reveal new information about Earth's history.
  • Traveling Dust

    Traveling Dust

    6-12  |  Audio
    In this Science Update, hear how microbes can travel from country to country on clouds of dust.


  • Science of a Tsunami

    6-12  |  Video
    Studying the science of tsunamis will hopefully provide better understanding and a better warning system

AAAS Resources

In the Geosciences, Business Is Booming
Grade Band: 6-12
Description: Students can learn more about geoscience careers and one young geologist who loves her work. (From AAAS Science Careers, August 08, 2008.)

Science Careers Podcast: Geoscience Careers
Grade Band: 6-12
Description: Hear from experts and geologists about the current job market for geoscientists. (From AAAS Science Careers, August 08, 2008.)

Western U.S. on the Rise
Grade Band:
Description: An annotated Science article from Science in the Classroom on ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States.

Other Resources

Earth Science Week
Grade Band: K-12
Description: Earth Science Week encourages people everywhere to explore the natural world and learn about the geosciences. Its offerings include classroom activities and contests for students.

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