Resources for Teacher

Lesson Plans & Activities for K-2

Here you can find lesson plans and activities that may be useful in classrooms K-2.

Biology/Ecosystems|| Geography|| Geology|| Global Change|| Natural Hazards|| Oceans/Coasts|| Water|| Other

Biology/Ecosystems

USGS Kids- Activities
Activities, games, coloring pages, projects, and stories that teach younger children about animals, climate change, bee population declines, wild birds, and more. 

South Florida Kids Page- Activities
Learn about the myriad ecosystems in South Florida and the creatures that inhabit them. The site includes coloring pages, games, and summaries of different animal species. 

Southeast Ecological Science Center Kid's Corner- Activities
Short movie clips of amphibians, games & puzzles, wildlife pictures, and coloring sheets related to animals found in the southeast U.S. with an emphasis on Florida. 

Wise Wetland Ways- Activities
Teachers use wetland "artifacts" to discuss how people benefit from wetlands (on back side of poster). 

Polar Bears- - Background Information and Activites
Track polar bears by satellite and learn about their habitat.

Fossil Lesson Plan: Crinoids- Lesson Plan
What are fossils? What are crinoids? Make your own easy model of these marine organisms to learn how they live and how we often see them in the geologic record as fossils!

Animal Coloring Sheets- Activities
Individual coloring pages of birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians, and otters from our friends at the Western Ecological Research Center.

Frog Call Quiz- Activities
Learn the breeding calls of frogs and toads in the eastern United States and Canada.

Geography

Topographic Map Resources for Teachers - Lessons and Activities
This directory level site includes links to various resources on topographic maps, how to obtain them, read them, their history, and map projections and includes links to various teaching activities and modules. It is the one-stop shop for learning about, using, and teaching topographic map concepts.

Helping Your Child Learn Geography- Background Information and Activites
A 32-page booklet, published in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Geographic Society, that is designed to help adults stir children's curiosity about geography. Includes many suggestions for simple activities. K-4.     

Map Adventures- Lessons and Activities
This on-line teacher packet for grades K-3 teaches basic concepts for visualizing objects from different perspectives and how to understand and use maps. The kit includes seven lesson plans, activity sheets, and a printable poster.   

Ten Lessons for Teaching Geography Using Corn Mazes- Lessons
This web link lists various maps that themes in Geography can be illustrated using a corn maze. Not every exercise requires actual access to a corn maze.

Tracking Change over Time- Lesson
Enhance students' learning of geography, map reading, earth science, and problem solving through landscape changes recorded by satellites in space.

Constructing a 3D Topographic Map- Activity
This exercise uses clear plastic take-out lids, each marked with a different elevation line, and stacked to produce a 3D topographic map. It includes a base map of Angel Island (San Francisco Bay) but can be adapted to any local topographic feature.

27 Ideas for Teaching with Topographic Maps- Activities and Lessons
Contains 27 ideas for teaching with the approximately 57,000 topographic maps that the USGS offers.   

Corn Maze Geography- Activities and Lessons
Visit a corn maze and use these activities to learn about maps and geography.

Geology

3D Paper Models- Activities
3-D paper models (with accompanying Educator Guides) are a fun and interactive way to teach geologic concepts. Although these models were created in the 1990s and have a somewhat low resolution, they’re still good! Animations mentioned in the Educator Guides are no longer available

Mud Fossils (includes guides and lesson plan)- Lessons and Activties 
This is a teaching kit for lower elementary grades (K-3) that includes lesson plans, activities, and other resources for teaching about fossils.   

Journey Along a Field Line- Activity 
A sixteen-page comic book about the Earth's magnetic field. Travel down through the interior of the earth then back up into the ionosphere to learn how the magnetic field works.

Wegener's Puzzling Evidence Exercise- Activity
Students use fossil evidence and other clues to piece together the continents before they drifted apart.

Fossil Lesson Plan: Crinoids- Lesson Plan
W What are fossils? What are crinoids? Make your own easy model of these marine organisms to learn how they live and how we often see them in the geologic record as fossils!

How to Build a Model Illustrating Sea-Floor Spreading and Subduction- Activity 
Print, cut-out, and glue together a three-dimensional paper model that illustrates sea-floor spreading and subduction. Simple diagrams and easy-to-understand explanations of the processes are included.

Plate Tectonics Tennis Ball Globe Model- Activity
Print and color a two-dimensional world globe showing plate boundaries, then cut it out and glue it to a tennis ball to create a three-dimensional model. Includes links to teacher resources and questions to ask students.

"Are You a Scientist, Too?" A Primer of Simple Geoscience Activities for K-2 Classrooms- Activities
Although written for geoscientists who are visiting classrooms, these very basic activities could easily be led by a teacher or parent.

Schoolyard Geology- Activities
Structured activities use man-made features that are found in a typical schoolyard to demonstrate geologic principles. 

Collecting Rocks- Activity
Learn about different types of rocks and how to identify and collect them.

Erosion- Activities
Students use soil and water to demonstrate the effect of rainfall on soil erosion (see back side of poster).

Weathering and Erosion in Desert Environments- Activity
Explains how desert climates impact weathering and erosion processes in the Mojave Desert (this activity is on the back side of the poster).

Exploring Caves- Lessons
Exploring Caves is an interdisciplinary set of materials on caves for grades K-3. Using earth science, hydrology, mapping, biology, and anthropology, the unit provides teachers with detailed lesson plans to explore these rich environments with very young students.   

Paper Model of Karst Topography- Activity
Cut out and glue together a three-dimensional model illustrating karst topography.

Global Change

Natural Hazards

Earthquake ABC- Lessons
An ABC book created by children who witnessed an earthquake. It incorporates science, feelings, and preparedness related to this unpredictable and frightening hazard. Parent and teacher guides are included.

Earthquakes - For Kids- Activities
This Web site is rich with facts, information, coloring pages, and activities related to earthquakes. Includes links to teacher resources and much more...   

Bigger Faults Make Bigger Earthquakes- Activity
Use string or rope to demonstrate relationships between the length of a fault and the earthquakes that occur along it.

Earthquake Preparedness- Lesson
The key to earthquake safety is to be prepared and know what to expect. Use the many resources at this site to teach students how to react when an earthquake occurs. The Great Shakeout Drills website has classroom materials targeted to specific states.

Living with a Volcano in your Backyard- Activities
Activities address volcanic processes and hazards, community safety, and the impact of volcanoes on our culture and history. These are structured around (but are not limited to!) the Cascade Range volcanoes.

Oceans/Coasts

The Fragile Fringe: A Guide for Teaching about Coastal Wetlands- Background Information and Activities
Includes background information, suggested activities, glossary, references, and reading list. Activities can be demonstrated by the teacher or performed by students. Emphasis is on Gulf Coast wetlands.   

Coastal Erosion- Activites
Moist sand and water are used to demonstrate how different waves affect the movement of sand along the coast (see back side of poster).

Water

USGS Water Science School- Photos and Activities
A fantastic resource for K-8 water science. Offers information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where students can give their opinions and test their water knowledge.   

A Journey with Water- Activity
A very simple coloring book following the adventures of a water drop. Suitable for K-2.

Streamer- Lesson
Have you ever dropped a stick in a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Explore America's larger streams by tracing them upstream to their source or downstream to where they empty. Learn about your stream traces and the places they pass through in a detailed report

Hands-on Experiments to Test for Acid Mine Drainage- Activities
Fourteen very basic exercises use home-made litmus paper and household items to test creek water for acid mine drainage and to look at plants, bacteria, and insects living in the water.

Water Education Posters- Lessons and Activities
Water-resources topics of all completed posters are drawn in a cartoon format by the same cartoonist. Posters are available in color or B&W. The back sides of the color poster PDF files contain educational activities: one version for children in grades 3-5 and the other with activities for children in grades 6-8. The B&W posters are intended for coloring by children in grades K-5.

Wise Wetland Ways- Activities
Teachers use wetland "artifacts" to discuss how people benefit from wetlands (on back side of poster). 

Other

Regional Planetary Image Facility- Activites, Videos and Photos
Don't let the name of the website scare you off. The USGS was heavily involved in the Apollo missions; those activities are archived here in the form of fun videosphotos, and online exhibits, along with materials from more recent spacecraft missions.

Construct 3-D Globes- Activity
Download, print, and make your own paper globes of planets and moons.