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high school

History of Earth
Half-life Gizmo

Half-life Gizmo

“Half-life” comes to us from explorelearning.com. Students explore how radioactive substances decay over time. The half-life and the number of radioactive atoms can be adjusted, and theoretical or random decay can be observed. Data can be interpreted visually using a dynamic graph, a bar chart, and a table. Determine the half-lives of two sample isotopes as well as samples with randomly generated half-lives. explorelearning.com is a paid subscription website, but you can get 5 minutes access to their gizmos for free. Made with HTML5 so it’ll work on most devices!
OptIPuter Outreach

OptIPuter Outreach: Plate Tectonics

This collection of videos and simulations comes from the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the University of California San Diego. There are various passages that describe different aspects of the Theory of Plate Tectonics. Some examples are Sea Floor Spreading Theory, the Mechanism for Plate Movement, and Continental Drift Theory, and much more! Each passage has a simulation or video to supplement the information. The videos/simulations require flash.
Plate Tectonics Interactive

Plate Tectonics Interactive

This wonderfully in depth interactive called “Plate Tectonics” comes from Annemberg Learner. Students read through a couple passages describing different aspects of the theory of Plate Tectonics. This includes the different types of boundaries, the names of different boundaries, as well as visuals of what happens at each type of boundary. Plenty of interactives and simulations throughout! Flash required.
BrainPOP

BrainPOP: Plate Tectonics

BrainPOP provides lesson plan ideas, interactive games, engaging movies, DIY concept map ideas, and more to allow students to learn for themselves how plate tectonics is the unifying theory of the entire field of geology.
Radioactive Dating Game

Radioactive Dating Game

“Radioactive Dating Game” is a learning tool from the PhET website that has tons of amazing science learning tools. In this game students learn about different types of radiometric dating, such as carbon dating. Understand how decay and half life work to enable radiometric dating to work. Java required.
Layers of Time Fossil Game

Layers of Time Fossil Game

At the dig site we begin by looking for exposed fossils. When we find something we start digging. We dig slowly and carefully so we don’t damage the specimen.
Want to find out how the history of life is written in the rocks? Let’s go!
Continental Divide: The Breakup of Pangaea

Continental Divide: The Breakup of Pangaea

This simple, but effective, “learning tool” comes to us from one of the premier science museums in the United States, the Exploratorium, in San Francisco. “Continental Divide: The Breakup of Pangaea” let students see a nice visualization of how the same kinds of fossils ended up on different parts of the world. Students can also read short passages about how the continents fit together, the fossils found across the world, the same kinds of rocks found around the world called “tiltes”, and even how mountains help us understand the theory of Continental Drift. Flash required.
The Carbon Cycle

The Carbon Cycle

The interactive, titled “The Carbon Cycle” comes from the University of West Virginia. The carbon cycle has been happening through much of Earth’s history. In this interactive students can click on each part of the cycle and watch a short animation containing information about the phase of the cycle. Flash required.
Continental Drift

Continental Drift

This learning tool titled “Continental Drift” shows students different phases of tectonic plates moving throughout Earth’s history. In order to reinforce the idea that these are the same plates that exist today. The interactive accomplishes this by having a matching game where students label each plate with the name of the present day plate. This interactive comes to us from Pearson Prentice Hall. Flash required.
Plate Tectonics Simulation

Plate Tectonics Simulation

Explore how plates move on the surface of the earth. Change temperature, composition, and thickness of plates. Discover how to create new mountains, volcanoes, or oceans!
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KEY CONCEPTS

The History of Planet Earth (ESS1.C)

  • Continental rocks, which can be older than 4 billion years, are generally much older than the rocks of the ocean floor, which are less than 200 million years old. (HS-ESS1-5)
  • Although active geologic processes, such as plate tectonics and erosion, have destroyed or altered most of the very early rock record on Earth, other objects in the solar system, such as lunar rocks, asteroids, and meteorites, have changed little over billions of years. Studying these objects can provide information about Earth’s formation and early history. (HS-ESS1-6)

Earth Materials and Systems (ESS2.A)

  • Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes. (HS-ESS2-1)

Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions (ESS2.B)

  • Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains the past and current movements of the rocks at Earth’s surface and provides a framework for understanding its geologic history. (ESS2.B Grade 8 GBE) (secondary to HS-ESS1-5),(HS-ESS2-1)
  • Plate movements are responsible for most continental and ocean-floor features and for the distribution of most rocks and minerals within Earth’s crust. (ESS2.B Grade 8 GBE) (HS-ESS2-1)

About NGSS

Next Generation Science Standards is a multi-state effort to create new education standards that are “rich in content and practice, arranged in a coherent manner across disciplines and grades to provide all students an internationally benchmarked science education.”

ABOUT US

Our team from Temple University has developed this resource for all K-12 students and teachers of science. These vetted learning tools align to the NGSS. Find one we should include? Just fill out the form.

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TECH HELP

 

Many of these science resources require Java and Flash. Click below to download.

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