Shop Windows to the Universe

The Universe at Your Fingertips 2.0 DVD from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific is in our online store, filled with Earth and space science resources.

Classroom Activities and Demonstrations

Beginner level

Welcome educators!

Click the topics below to find hands-on activities for your classroom that relate to Windows to the Universe content. Some of the activities in this section were developed by our team of content developers and expert teachers. Others are ones that we use and recommend.

Windows to the Universe Educator Members - login to get access to free copies of PDF versions of activity descriptions, worksheets, assessments, and associated powerpoints.

Non-members can purchase PDFs and powerpoints (click on "purchase" in the right hand column). Alternatively, you can get access to these resources for only $20/yr (a $230 value) by joining as an Educator Member today!

Free html versions of activities and worksheets are available for most activities - links to these are available in the table below, in the left hand column.

These activities are appropriate (or could be easily adapted) for elementary school (i.e. K-5 classrooms). The Science Standards addressed are on each activity page.


Find activities about...

Science and Literacy

Our Solar System

Atmosphere and Weather

Geology

Geography

Climate and Global Change

Water

Life

Sun and Spaceweather

Physics and Chemistry

Science and Literacy

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Snapshot ExerciseA great activity to use on field trips or class outings - have students write a "snapshot" of their experience. PDF
Sensory Detail Word Bank
Sensory Observation Sheet
Purchase
x

Our Solar System

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
A Solar System Coloring BookA ready-to-use coloring book applet! PDF Purchase
Clay PlanetsUsing clay models to learn about the solar system  
Terrabagga ActivityUse a homemade magnetometer instrument to learn about planetary magnetic fields. PDF
Worksheet
Instructions for Students:
Purchase
The MagnetometerBuild your own magnetometer, use this to learn about planetary magnetic fields. PDF Purchase
x

Atmosphere and Weather

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Combining Clouds and Art in the ClassroomAn interdisciplinary lesson plan combining landscape painting and cloud identification PDF
Powerpoint Presentation
 
Create a Cloud in a BottleStudents learn how clouds form by making a model cloud form in a bottle. PDF Purchase
Create a TornadoCreate a tornado in a bottle!  
Create Your Own FogAn activity on making fog  
Create Your Own Lightning An activity on making lightning  
Feeling the HeatStudents explore the urban heat island effect by collecting and interpreting data. PDF
Data Collection Worksheet
Los Angeles Data Cards
Powerpoint presentation
Purchase
Make it Rain! A rain activity  
Our Poetic Planet An interdisciplinary lesson plan combining observations of clouds and weather with writing poetry PDF
Powerpoint presentation
Purchase
Shadows...Shadows and their relationship to the time of day/season  
The NCAR Cloud Viewer Print and use to identify cloud types (760K PDF)  
Three Clouds ActivityOne demonstration and two hands-on activities - all about clouds!  
Thunder and LightningA simple activity  
Watch the Sky A great activity to get your students thinking about what they see in the sky  
Weather and Careers Exercise A lesson that looks at how weather affects different jobs  
Weather Crossword PuzzleA reading and puzzle exercise available at three levels  
x

Geology

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Let's Take a Rock Apart! A hands-on exploration of the minerals that make up a rock.
Worksheet
Teacher Key
Purchase
Making Sedimentary Rocks! Students make a model of sedimentary rock layers to understand how rocks form layers and represent ancient environments. PDF Purchase
Roger the RockWriting and artwork exercise where students create a children's book to show the rock cycle PDF
Worksheet
Assessment
Purchase
Shake, Rattle and Roll An easy way to show how surface area affects weathering  
Snack Tectonics Students create a tasty model that illustrates plate tectonic motions. PDF Purchase
Take a Stab!Model-building activity that will help students visualize what lies below a surface PDF Purchase
Tetrahedron ModelStudents build a tetrahedron model using simple materials. Activity focuses on silica tetrahedron. PDF Purchase
The MagnetometerBuild your own magnetometer, use this to learn about planetary magnetic fields. PDF Purchase
Thirsty Rocks Investigate porosity and permeability using sandstone. PDF Purchase
x

Geography

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
The Land Plan Challenge Students plan towns and learn how planning affects the environment and the larger community. PDF
Activity and Worksheet
Template 1
Template 2
Template 3
Purchase
x

Climate and Global Change

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Changing Planet: Adaptation of Species (Birds and Butterflies)Students investigate how shape and structure of bird beaks affects the type of food that birds are able to eat, and view how global climate change is affecting many species of animals. PDF
Worksheet
Class Summary
Powerpoint Presentation
Purchase
Changing Planet: Rising Ocean Temperatures - Rising Sea LevelsStudents investigate how thermal expansion of water affects sea level PDF
Worksheet
Purchase
Feeling the HeatStudents explore the urban heat island effect by collecting and interpreting data. PDF
Data Collection Worksheet
Los Angeles Data Cards
Powerpoint presentation
Purchase
Glaciers: Then and NowStudents compare photographs of glaciers to observe how Alaskan glaciers have changed over the last century.
Selected by CLEAN!
PDF
Worksheet
Photo Pairs
Purchase
Making Sedimentary Rocks! Students make a model of sedimentary rock layers to understand how rocks form layers and represent ancient environments. PDF Purchase
The Land Plan Challenge Students plan towns and learn how planning affects the environment and the larger community. PDF
Activity and Worksheet
Template 1
Template 2
Template 3
Purchase
Thermal Expansion and Sea Level RiseDiscover how thermal expansion of water might affect sea level! PDF Purchase
Using the Carbon Cycle Interactive Game in the Classroom Through an online game, students learn how carbon cycles through the Earth system PDF Purchase
x

Water

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Build a Model WatershedStudents construct a model land surface and use the model to explore basic concepts of watersheds. PDF Purchase
Changing Planet: Rising Ocean Temperatures - Rising Sea LevelsStudents investigate how thermal expansion of water affects sea level PDF
Worksheet
Purchase
Ducks in the FlowResources about Surface Ocean Currents for the Upper Elementary Classroom  
Exploring Density of Salt and Fresh Water: Par 5 A fun activity that involves the interaction between fresh water and salt water PDF Purchase
The Land Plan Challenge Students plan towns and learn how planning affects the environment and the larger community. PDF
Activity and Worksheet
Template 1
Template 2
Template 3
Purchase
Thermal Expansion and Sea Level RiseDiscover how thermal expansion of water might affect sea level! PDF Purchase
x

Life

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Adaptation InvestigationInvestigate how shape and structure of beaks affects the type of food that birds are able to eat. PDF
Student Data Table
Class Summary
Powerpoint presentation
Purchase
Changing Planet: Adaptation of Species (Birds and Butterflies)Students investigate how shape and structure of bird beaks affects the type of food that birds are able to eat, and view how global climate change is affecting many species of animals. PDF
Worksheet
Class Summary
Powerpoint Presentation
Purchase
Growing Penguins TimelineStudents make a timeline of Adelie penguin development PDF
Penguin Photos
Purchase
Make an Arctic Creature Mobile Students color, cut and assemble a mobile of animals and others that live in the Arctic Ocean and on the sea ice above it.  
Polishing the PetoskeyStudents will wear away and then polish a Petoskey stone.  
Using the Carbon Cycle Interactive Game in the Classroom Through an online game, students learn how carbon cycles through the Earth system PDF Purchase
x

Sun and Spaceweather

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Solar Concentration Game A great game to be played on the internet!  
Sun-Earth Flip BooksA fun, easy way to learn about the Sun.  
Ulysses Solar Word Search Game A different game for each level! The words chosen are ones that have to do with the Ulysses solar mission.  
x

Physics and Chemistry

Title of activity Brief description Bookmark (Members only) PDF/PPT (Educator Members Only) Purchase PDF/PPT (Non Educator Members)
Exploring Density of Salt and Fresh Water: Par 5 A fun activity that involves the interaction between fresh water and salt water PDF Purchase
Frozen FilmA hands-on activity dealing with light interference  
Is Air a Fluid? Discover how gases can flow!  
Magnetic Levitation Learn basic concepts of magnetism and forces via magnetic levitation. PDF
Worksheet
Purchase
Printable Activity Page about Magnetism Includes a wordsearch, connect-the-dots and coloring activity.  
Spectral SurpriseA model that displays the rainbow colors of the spectrum  
Tetrahedron ModelStudents build a tetrahedron model using simple materials. Activity focuses on silica tetrahedron. PDF Purchase
The MagnetometerBuild your own magnetometer, use this to learn about planetary magnetic fields. PDF Purchase
x

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities


Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA