Initial Publication Date: April 4, 2023

Earth Science Week 2023: Teaching about Geoscience Innovation

This page was created for AGI's 2023 Earth Science Week: Geoscience Innovating for Earth and People., October 8-14, 2023.

The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) is proud to be a part of Earth Science Week. We've selected these resources for you from our Teach the Earth collection and other projects we sponsor because they are high-quality, reviewed teaching resources that align with this year's theme: Geoscience Innovating for Earth and People.

Like what you see? Find out more about NAGT and join us today!

How do we connect geoscience and innovation?

Earth scientists innovate by developing new strategies, tools, and techniques to address questions related to resources, hazards, sustainability, and more. Geoscience engineers develop innovative solutions to societal problems. Read more about the connections between innovation, geoscience, and engineering at The Power of Integration: Engineering, Geoscience, & Sustainability.

Jump down to: Geoscience innovation in the NGSS | Additional resources for K-12 teachers from NAGT

Featured Resources

NAGT's Teach the Earth portal is a way to access activities submitted by individuals through workshops and on their own. These featured resources have been selected from the Teach the Earth collection for particular relevance to this year's theme.

Grades 9–12 resources

Photograph of a road near Anchorage Alaksa. Large chunks of the road are broken and falling down the hill to the right. Traffic can only pass via a narrow strip of intact road to the left.
Photograph of a road near Anchorage Alaksa. Large chunks of the road are broken and falling down the hill to the right. Traffic can only pass via a narrow strip of intact road to the left.[creative commons]
Provenance: Alaska Department of Transportation https://www.flickr.com/photos/akdotpf/45266462095
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Geologic Hazards and the Built Environment

In a collaborative research project, students explore the factors related to hazards experienced during earthquakes. Then students will identify and address the challenges, constraints, and solutions to a community's prepardeness plan.

Dried_lake_mud.jpg
[reuse info]
Reuse: This item is in the public domain and maybe reused freely without restriction.
EarthLabs: Drought

After exploring data about the availability of water in the American West and conducting a case study of the Caoklorado River watershed, students research the costs and benefits of of technologies for drought mitigation. They develop models and present their findings to their classmates with recommendations for future developments.

"Dinkling Green Mine Caves - geograph.org.uk - 3535813" by Karl and Ali
[creative commons]
Provenance: "Dinkling Green Mine Caves - geograph.org.uk - 3535813" by Karl and Ali is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/942e8021-2aab-45c1-900f-47841cba0206
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Geoethics Forums: The Grey Side of Green

Students research the use of strategic minerals for green and clean technology, identify stakeholders, and then consider possible solutions and tradeoffs working towards the most acceptable path.

Students building a TVES
Mt Tabor Middle School students working collaboratively on their tsunami vertical evacuation structures.[creative commons]
Provenance: Roger Groom (Mt Tabor Middle School)
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Tsunami vertical evacuation structures

Students learn about tsunami vertical evacuation structures (TVES) as a viable solution for communities with high ground too far away for rapid evacuation, then apply engineering design principles for TVES and make their own scale model that they think would fit well in their community.

Grades 6–8 resources

Elwha River Dam Removal
[creative commons]
Provenance: "Elwha River Dam Removal" by pecooper98362 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. https://wordpress.org/openverse/image/8a59568a-5440-4d44-be1b-7c990b2baf0b
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Modeling the Effects of Dam Removal on the Elwha River

In this activity, students are introduced to the social and scientific issues surrounding the removal of the Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River (on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State), and conduct a hands-on experiment with real-world application to observe the effects and consequences of removing the dam.

ribbon_cutting_ceremony_hunt_1265741368_324.png
[creative commons]
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Rainwater harvesting service learning project

Students will gain an understanding of the history, benefits, and components of a rainwater harvesting system and partner with community members to design and build a rainwater harvesting system for their school.

Emergency supplies grab-bag
Assembling a grab-bag of emergency supplies will help you and your family in the hours and days immediately following an earthquake or other disaster.[creative commons]
Provenance: Nepal Red Cross (http://www.nrcs.org/ )
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Be Smart, Be Prepared!

Students learn what to do before, during, and after an earthquake, and brainstorm what they can put in an emergency backpack that will help them be prepared.

Map of the modeled tsunami wave heights across the Pacific Ocean after the 2011 Japan Tohoku Earthquake
Map of the modeled tsunami wave heights across the Pacific Ocean after the 2011 Japan Tohoku Earthquake[reuse info]
Provenance: NOAA https://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/honshu20110311/
Reuse: This item is in the public domain and maybe reused freely without restriction.
Tsunami Early Warning Demonstration

This is a quick activity in which students explore the technology used for a tsunami early warning system.

Grades K-5 resources

Build a Better Wall Activity
Build a Better Wall activity uses everyday materials such as tongue-depressors, binder clips, and manila envelopes to give learners a chance to experiment with various ways to add shear strength to a building.[creative commons]
Provenance: Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Earthscope Consortium
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Build a Better Wall

Students use a variety of building materials to explore how well different structures can withstand earthquakes. Optional activities additionally include assessing damage when the models are subject to shaking.

ShakeNet image
ShakeNet data portal image[creative commons]
Provenance: IRIS.edu
Reuse: This item is offered under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ You may reuse this item for non-commercial purposes as long as you provide attribution and offer any derivative works under a similar license.
Getting students started with the Quake Catcher Network

The Quake Catcher Network (QCN) uses low-cost motion sensors installed in school and museums to collect earthquake data and make it publicly available. This is an instructor guide that explains how to access the data and use it in your own classroom.

Geoscience innovations in the NGSS

In the Next Generation Science Standards, innovation is prominent within Earth science and engineering.

High school performance expectations 

Earth and space science: Human Sustainability

  • Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
  • Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.

Engineering design

  • Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.

Middle school performance expectations

Earth and space science: Human Impacts

  • Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
  • Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

Engineering design

  • Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
  • Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.

Elementary performance expectations

Earth and space science: Earth's systems

  • Compare multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.
  • Generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of natural Earth processes on humans.
  • Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.

Earth and space science: Weather and climate

  • Use tools and materials provided to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.
  • Make a claim about the merit of a design solution that reduces the impacts of a weather-related hazard.

Engineering design

  • Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

Additional resources for K-12 teachers from NAGT

Professional development

Our curated collection of K-12 professional development opportunities can help you find what you need to implement the NGSS in your classroom.

Dorothy Stout Professional Development Grants: Dottie Stout was the first female president of NAGT and was active as a strong supporter of earth science education at all levels. In honor of Dottie's outstanding work and lifelong dedication to Earth Science Education, NAGT awards grants to faculty and students at 2 year colleges and K-12 teachers in support of the following:

  • Participation in Earth science classes or workshops
  • Attendance at professional scientific or science education meetings
  • Participation in Earth science field trips
  • Purchase of Earth science materials for classroom use

Grants of $750 are made annually in three categories: Community College Faculty, Community College Student, and K-12 Educator. For more information about the award visit the Stout Grants page.

Awards

The Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) awards are given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level." Any teacher or other K-12 educator who covers a significant amount of earth science content with their students is eligible. For more information about the award and to submit a nomination visit the OEST Awards page.