Earth’s Temperature Lesson Packet

Earth’s Temperature Lesson Packet

Get The Lesson

Learn about climate, weather, and the rising surface temperature on Earth.

Get this lesson: You can download the full packet here, or read a condensed version of this unit below.

Worksheet: Download just the worksheet, or there’s a copy included in the packet.

Overview: 

The average temperature of the Earth (15 deg C) is what allows our planet to be habitable. In order to support life our Earth lies in the “sweet spot” of temperatures. Any change in that range threatens life on Earth.

How do we distinguish the difference between weather and climate? Weather is atmospheric conditions which occur over short periods of time, from minutes to hours or days, such as snow, rain, clouds, or wind. Climate refers to long-term averages of temperature, rainfall, and other conditions in a region over seasons, years or decades. This is why monitoring weather patterns over many years is important. Weather data collected includes air chemistry, temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind speed.

Scientists have concluded that our climate is changing, and that global temperatures are rising. Scientific data provides evidence that the Earth’s temp is changing: 2019 was the second warmest year on record, and from 1880-2019, the five warmest years have happened since 2015. Nine of the warmest years have happened since 2005.

Video resources:

You can make a difference – a simple explanation of how humans have impacted climate change, with some easy solutions to help reduce your impact.

The Solution is all around us – an in-depth explanation of three key strategies to help revitalize Earth’s ecosystems today.

What can I do? – a detailed account of many different ways for people to address climate change not only within their lives but together as a society, also touching on human dependence on fossil fuels.

Sample Research Project:

Project: Graphing Global Temps activity – this NASA lesson has students in middle through high school look at global warming trends and graph them. This lesson meets Common Core math and NGSS science standards.

Methods: Use the kit above to have students analyze and graph a data set, and make predictions about rising temperatures over time.

Supplies: computer with internet, pencil and paper

NGSS Standards:

MS-LS2-1; MS-LS2-4 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-ESS3-3; MS-ESS3-4; MS-ESS3-5 Earth and Human Activity
HS-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-ESS3-1; HS-ESS3-4 Earth and Human Activity

SEPs: Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing Explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence
Planning and carrying out investigations
Asking Questions

CC: Cause and effect
Stability and change
Patterns

Insect Populations Lesson Packet

Insect Populations Lesson Packet

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Learn how insects play a critical role in our ecosystem through this lesson.

Get this lesson: You can download the full packet here, or read a condensed version of this unit below.

Worksheet: Download just the worksheet, or there’s a copy included in the packet.

Overview: 

Insects are invertebrates that are found all over the world and are incredibly important indicators of the health of ecosystems.  Insects tend to have a segmented body, legs, bilateral symmetry (both sides of their bodies look the same), and an external skeleton that often molts (sheds and regrows) as the insect grows.  Insects are quite unique in that they are found in nearly every part of the globe, including the Arctic.  They are the most abundant group of organisms on the planet; there are over 1,000,000 different kinds and they have been around for nearly 300 million years.

Recent studies have found that insect populations are decreasing worldwide, a trend that could be a contributing factor to the decline of ecosystems.  Insect populations are made up of many small individuals but often have a very large impact on the planet. These populations are important in understanding the overall health of environments.

Video resources:

Insect Decline in 5 min – An overview of the importance of insects and why their decline could be catastrophic.

Life of Insects | Attenborough: Life in the Undergrowth – An insight into the world of insects  there might be a better one?

Why are insects important? – A short and simple guide on the importance of insects.

Maggot medicine – A look at how maggots could be used for wound healing in humans.

Sample Research Project:

Headwaters’ DIY insect sweep net

Methods: Make an insect sweep net that can be used to collect samples for a research project. See how to do it in this video.

Supplies: a white t-shirt or pillowcase, needle and thread, a hot glue gun or duct tape, a stick

Sample questions:

  • How does the population of insects differ between a sunny and shady area?
  • How does the population of insects differ between an urban and rural area?
  • How does the population of insects differ between a terrestrial (on land) and an aquatic (near water) setting?

NGSS Standards:

MS-LS2-1; MS-LS2-2; MS-LS2-4 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-1; HS-LS2-2; HS-LS2-6; HS-LS2-8 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

SEPs: Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing Explanations and designing solutions
Scientific knowledge based on empirical evidence
Planning and carrying out investigations

CC: Cause and effect
Stability and change
Patterns

Benthic Macroinvertebrates Lesson Packet

Benthic Macroinvertebrates Lesson Packet

Learn more about these small yet important aquatic animals in this lesson packet.

Get this lesson: You can download the full packet here, and read a condensed version of this unit below.

Worksheet: Download just the worksheet, or there’s a copy included in the packet.

Overview: 

Benthic Macroinvertebrates are animals without a spine that you can see with your naked eye. Benthic means they live underwater on the bottoms of waterways like lakes, rivers, or oceans. Many of the benthic macroinvertebrates go through a 3 stage life cycle: egg, naiad (nymph in water), and adult. When we hunt for macroinvertebrates in streams we are usually finding the naiad/nymph stage, the one before it turns into a flying adult. Macroinvertebrates are often used as biological indicators of stream health, as they can be sensitive to pollution and changes in water chemistry, specifically oxygen. They are also an important part of the ecosystem as herbivores and a food source for native fish.

Many scientists study benthic macroinvertebrates to understand the health of a waterway. They collect data on the number and types of macroinvertebrates in an area and use that information to assess how healthy a body of water is, monitor for pollution, and/or measure the effectiveness of restoration programs.

Video resources:

Macroinvertebrates- A Love Story – a sassy, humorous view of why macroinvertebrates are cool, as only a teenager could tell.

Macroinvertebrates Close Up– a short close up of living, breathing macroinvertebrates in water.

Sample Research Project:

Find a flowing waterway nearby and make a prediction where you might find more macroinvertebrates.

Sample questions:

  • Are there more macroinvertebrates in the shady or sunny section?
  • Are there more macroinvertebrates in the faster or slower water?
  • How many different types of macroinvertebrates are there?

NGSS Standards:

MS-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
HS-LS2-1: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

SEPs: Analyzing and interpreting data
Constructing Explanations and designing solutions
Scientific knowledge based on empirical evidence

CC: Cause and effect
Stability and change
Patterns