"Survivor: Earth" Lesson Plan Series
Survivor: Earth in 10 Lessons
A Collaboration between Montgomery County Public Schools Outdoor Environmental Education Program and the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission
The following lessons have been developed to teach students about local and global water issues. They are based on NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Mission (http://pmm.nasa.gov/gpm/) and an instructional module designed for Montgomery County Public Schools Outdoor Environmental Education Program (http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/curriculum/outdoored/). The lessons connect with both the Next Generation Science Standards as well as the Common Core Curriculum and involve STEM topics. They are hands on activities that are done largely outdoors, and which include scientific data collection and analysis and integrate technology. Many of the lessons involve data collected based on protocols from the GLOBE Program (www.globe.gov). Each lesson is designed to take one hour. The lessons build on each other, but can also be used independently. Each lesson topic includes a lesson plan, PowerPoint presentation, student capture sheet and capture sheet answer guide.
- Connecting the Spheres: Earth Systems: Students will investigate Earth systems by making observations in nature and identifying systems in the natural world. Ultimately, the students will understand how the four spheres/systems on Earth (biosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere) are interconnected.
- Earth’s Water: Students will gain an understanding of Earth’s water – how much, what it’s like and where it is found. Students participate in a demonstration showing the distribution and composition of water on earth. Students also create a map showing where freshwater is located on earth.
- The Water Cycle: Students will investigate the water cycle by participating in a webquest, then building a mini model of the water cycle to observe how water moves through Earth’s four systems. Students will use what they’ve learned to draw and label a diagram of the water cycle.
- Water in the Hydrosphere: Students will investigate the hydrosphere by going outside and using scientific equipment to measure temperature, pH, and transparency of a body of water. They will use this qualitative and quantitative data to understand how it is important to know about the condition of freshwater sources in many places in the natural environment and how these places are connected in the water cycle.
- Water in the Geosphere: Students will investigate water in the geosphere by going outside and using scientific equipment to measure soil moisture, temperature, color and consistence. Students will use this qualitative and quantitative data to understand how water is found in many places in the natural environment and how these places are connected in the water cycle.
- Water in the Biosphere: Students will investigate water in the biosphere by going outside and observing plants and land cover as an indication of amount of water in the biosphere. Students will use this qualitative data to understand how water is found in many places in the natural environment and how these places are connected in the water cycle.
- Water in the Atmosphere: Students will investigate water in the atmosphere by going outside and using scientific equipment to collect atmospheric moisture data (temperature, relative humidity, precipitation, and cloud cover). Students will use this qualitative and quantitative data to understand how water is found in the atmosphere, how the atmosphere determines weather and climate, and how Earth’s spheres are connected through the water cycle.
- Measuring Precipitation: Students are given an engineering problem (measuring precipitation), easily obtainable materials and tools and time to design their device. Students will simulate rain to test the device and compare their results. The comparison of results leads to a discussion about the need for a standardized calibration system to be used to get precise measurements that are reliable. Students are then introduced to the Global Precipitation Measurement mission and learn how this mission will set the new calibration standard for measuring precipitation across the world.
- Water Conservation: Students will think about the many ways that people use freshwater, and how we can conserve this precious and fundamental natural resource. Students will watch a short documentary describing issues related to clean water availability, analyze water use data, and start to think about how they consume and can conserve water. This background knowledge will lead to students collecting data about their own water use and finding areas in their lives to conserve water.
- The Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM): To help students learn about the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission, they will watch a short video summarizing the purpose of the mission, learn about the parts of the satellite and their functions, and build and edible model of the satellite.