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National Geographic's Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Strange Days on Planet Earth
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Activity Guide

Study Science

Season 2 Materials

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Activity Guide
Table of Contents

  • INTRODUCTION
  • ACTIVITIES
    INVADERS
    • America's Most Wanted
      Track down information on one of several “most wanted” alien species and find out how it is causing problems in the United States.
    • Drawing Conclusions
      Create a comic strip that depicts an alien species arriving in a new habitat. Then draw a conclusion (literally!) of what impacts this alien might have had.
    • Decisions! Decisions!
      Play the part of community decision-makers trying to take action on alien species.
    THE ONE DEGREE FACTOR
    • Sources of Carbon Dioxide
      The common sources of carbon dioxide that contribute to the greenhouse effect are brought home to your students through this popular activity in which they compare the carbon dioxide content in their breath and in car exhaust.
    • The Carbon Dioxide Game
      A fun, active, outdoor game for helping students visualize how human activities amplify the natural greenhouse effect.
    • Car Quest
      Assess the environmental impacts of a fleet of cars and then research and prepare a report about greener transportation choices.
    PREDATORS
    • Speak Your Mind
      Students play roles in a simulated public hearing about wolf relocation.
    • Aquatic Connections
      In this series of interrelated activities, students participate in simulations that demonstrate three ecological concepts: carrying capacity, food webs, and the role of top predators.
    • Fishing for the Future
      Through a fishing simulation, students model several consecutive seasons of a commercial fishery and explore how technology, population growth, and sustainable practices impact fish catch and fisheries management.
    • Sharks in Decline
      Students carry out group simulations of common fishing methods and assess why these methods and sharks’ reproductive biology are together contributing to a rapid decline in shark populations.
    TROUBLED WATERS
    • Wonderful Watershed
      Transform a tarp into a model watershed to explore how different pollutants affect water quality.
    • Grab a Gram
      Students use familiar materials to gain an introduction to basic water quality measurement like parts per million (ppm) and milligrams per liter (mg/L). Students compare these measurements to national drinking water standards to determine toxicity levels of a contaminant.
    • The F-Files
      Explore the connection between toxic chemicals and living things as you read a comic strip about an investigation of frogs in Minnesota.
    • Stream Monitoring
      Take action! Take advantage of any of a number of stream monitoring networks to conduct hands-on study of a local stream or river.
  • NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS (PDF)
  • ADDITIONAL EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES
  • BECOME A SCIENTIST
  • GLOSSARY
  • CREDITS


CONTRIBUTED CURRICULA
We reviewed many curriculum sources in search of effective, engaging educational activities that would enhance the Strange Days on Planet Earth series. The activities we selected come from the outstanding guides listed below. All contain additional worthwhile learning opportunities related to the Strange Days topics and other environmental themes.

Special note should be made of the contributions from the World Wildlife Fund’s Windows on the Wild, (WOW). WOW’s goal is to teach people of all ages about biodiversity issues and stimulate critical thinking, discussion, and informed decision making on behalf of the environment. World Wildlife Fund generously permitted us to use six of their exceptional activities in this guide.

Windows on the Wild:

  • Biodiversity Basics — An Educator’s Guide to Exploring the Web of Life
  • Wildlife for Sale — An Educator’s Guide to Exploring Wildlife Trade
  • Oceans of Life — An Educator’s Guide to Exploring Marine Biodiversity
  • Smart Consumers — An Educator’s Guide to Exploring Consumer Issues and the Environment

World Wildlife Fund
www.worldwildlife.org/windows

Materials can be ordered from Acorn Naturalists
www.acornnaturalists.com

Facing the Future Curriculum Guide:

  • Classroom Activities For Teaching About Global Issues and Solutions

Facing the Future
www.facingthefuture.org
Curriculum guide may be downloaded free of charge.

GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science):

  • GEMS — Global Warming & the Greenhouse Effect

www.lhs.berkeley.edu/gems/
Materials can be ordered online.

Green Teacher Magazine:
www.greenteacher.com
Subscriptions are available for $26/year for four issues.

Healthy Water, Healthy People:

  • Healthy Water, Healthy People Water Quality Educators Guide

Montana State University
www.healthywater.org
More information can be found online.

National Wildlife Federation:

  • Wolves Action Pack

www.nwf.org
More information can be found online.

 

Contributors

Copyrighted activities adapted for this guide remain the sole property of the contributing organization.


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