Resources for Teachers and Learners

Related Lessons and Activities

From the 2019 Expedition

From the 2019 Expedition

The 2019 Expedition is gathering data on geology, water, end ecosystems. Learn about that here.

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Explorer Activities

Explorer Activities

For activities related to rivers and to John Wesley Powell, including Paper Powell, click here.

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Tracking Change over Time- Activity
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- Activites
Contains 27 ideas for teaching with the approximately 57,000 topographic maps that the USGS offers.   

Map Adventures- Lessons and Activites
K-3 Students will learn basic concepts for visualizing objects from different perspectives and how to understand /and use maps. The lessons center on a story about a little girl named Nikki. Nikki goes up in an unplanned balloon ride that gives her, and the students, different views of a park.  


Introduction to Geologic Time- Activity
What is geologic time? How do scientists figure out how old rock layers are relative to each other and assign ages to them? How old is Earth and what is a billion?

Geology of the Grand Canyon for Kids- Activity
Over a billion years of Earth history, all three rock types, and geologic features galore - all in one place. Try thinking like a geologist by reading the story from the river to the rim!

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.

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).


USGS Water Science School- 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. 

Streamer- Activity
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.


Three related podcasts within the Outstanding in the Field podcast series by the USGS Ecosystems Mission Area tell engaging stories about the science along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, AZ (sandbars, fish, and the aquatic insect citizen science project). 

Powell in the Parks Series

These information sheets parks near the historic Powell route briefly mention background information about each park on the front and a little background information about the 1869 expedition. 

Powell in Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge- Information

Powell in Dinosaur National Monument- Information

Powell in Ouray National Wildlife Refuge- Information

Powell in Canyonlands National Park- Information

Powell in Lake Mead National Recreation Area- Information

Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area- Information

Powell in Grand Canyon National Park- Information

Powell near Arches National Park- Information

Then & Now Series

The Then & Now online series looks at how things have changed since 1869. On this page, you will find topics including: the town of Green River, Wyoming, mapping, geologic time, women in science, flora and fauna, food, river travel, and art.