Resources for Teachers

Multimedia K-2

Here you can find multimedia items that may be useful in classrooms K-2.

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


Dendroica: An Aid to Identifying North American Birds- Photos
Multiple photos and sounds for most bird species in North America.

Sea Otters- Background Information and Video
Learn about sea otter basics and follow links to USGS podcasts, a film, a fact sheet, and other information about sea otters.

Manatees- Background Information and Photos
Read an information sheets about manatees, access photographs, and learn about USGS research on manatees.


Education Map Catalog- Maps
Browse samples of USGS maps that are popular with educators. Order paper copies through this site. Where available, links are provided to pdf versions that can be freely downloaded. (Navigate to this site on your own by going to the USGS Store and clicking on "Education Products")    

Printable Outline Maps of States (plus reference maps and more!)- Maps
Download hundreds of reference maps for individual states and for all of the United States. These are specifically designed to print on 8.5"x11" paper for classroom use. Includes unlabeled outline maps of the U.S. Formerly available on the National Atlas website.

Routes of the Principal Explorers Paper Map- Maps
Purchase this paper map showing routes of explorers in the contiguous 48 states, 1501-1844. Product #101216.   

TerraLook- Photos
Download free, high-resolution satellite images in georeferenced PDF format, which allows for visual interpretation and comparison without the need for complicated software.

EarthNow! Near-Real Time Satellite Image Viewer- Photos
Currently only works in Internet Explorer. What does a satellite see as it passes over our planet? This mesmerizing, near-real time viewer displays data received from the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites as they pass over the United States.

Satellite Image of Your State- Photos
Download and print a spectacular free image of your state created by combining satellite imagery with the National Elevation Dataset data.

Free Digital USGS Topographic Map Quadrangles- Maps
Download free USGS topographic map quadrangles in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format by clicking on "Map Locator" on the USGS Store Web site. These files were created using high-resolution scans and average 10-17 megabytes in size.


3D Photographs of Geology in National Parks- Photos
Photographic tours of National Parks (primarily in the western U.S.) in both 3D and standard photographs.

The Geologic Time Spiral - A Path to the Past- Posters
The centerfold illustration from the popular USGS pamphlet "Geologic Time" is now available as a downloadable poster in both page-size and poster-size resolutions. This diagram is a wonderful representation of the age of the Earth from its creation, through the different geologic eras, and up to the present. Perfect for classroom walls!

Geology of the Southern Appalachians- Map
This double-sided map was published in 2008 for classroom and public use. It consists of a geologic map draped over a shaded-relief background, photographs of interesting geologic features, diagrams of tectonic plate movement, and more. A 23-page booklet, Birth of the Mountains: The Geologic Story of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, is a companion product. A Teacher's Guide(designed to go with a film that's no longer available) has 17 suggested activities.

Geologic Map of North America- Maps
Click on "Map Images" (icon that looks like a framed picture) to download a map and explanation sheet for the Geologic Map of North American at different resolutions.

Major Tectonic Plates of the World- Map
A simple map of the major tectonic plates of the world.

Minerals in our Environment- Poster
A color poster (approximate dimensions 36 x 60 inches) showing how we use minerals in our everyday life. Download the PDF file and print at full size or page size. A Spanish-language version of this poster is also available.

Mineral Resources: Out of the Ground . . . Into our Daily Lives- Poster
A 29 inch x 41 inch poster showing the common usage of mineral resources in our homes, offices, and equipment we use daily. Download a PDF or postscript file to print at full size or page size.

Global Change

Natural Hazards

Earthquake Summary Posters- Poster
Download a summary poster showing the details of major earthquakes. These posters are typically released within 24 hours of a major global event and include maps of the earthquake location and its tectonic setting, maps of shaking hazards, and a brief review of the area's earthquake history. A great resource when discussing a specific event in the classroom.

Resource Page for Educators!Volcano Photos and Webcams- Photos
View and download free photos of volcanoes in the United States.

Photo Glossary of Volcano Terms- Photos
Brief descriptions and illustrative photographs of over 60 volcano terms.

Geologic Hazards at Volcanoes- Poster
Download a pdf file of this 18 inch x 27 inch poster showing a diagram of a cut-away volcano and the various hazards associated with volcanoes either during or between eruptions. The poster can also be ordered for free through the USGS Store($5.00 handling fee). Product number 208285.

Eruptions in the Cascade Range During the Past 4,000 Years- Poster
Download a pdf file of this 20 inch x 24 inch poster showing a timeline of eruptions in the Cascade Range. The poster can also be ordered for free through the USGS Store ($5.00 handling fee). Product number 208284.

Caldera Demonstration Model- Video
What is a caldera and how does it form? In this video, a USGS scientist performs a simple demonstration using flour, a balloon, and bicycle pump that can be also used in the classroom. Explore more USGS information about calderas here.

Volcanic and Seismic Hazards on the Island of Hawaii- Background Information and Photos
A general interest publication that provides an excellent description, with photographs, of the hazards associated with living in an active volcanic region and the topics that potential homeowners and land-use planners must consider.



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.   

The Water Cycle for Kids- Poster
A cartoon poster that shows water droplets traveling through the water cycle. Select the "interactive" option and choose the Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced versions to get more information. Download the poster (PDF) for free in multiple languages. There's also a version for older students.


Astrogeology Maps- Maps and Photos
A good starting point for exploring interesting maps and images of planets and moons, including anaglyphs, Apollo landing panoramas, globes, and mosaics.

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.