Discover Earth Activities

The activities described below are in draft form and are intended as preview of a complete module. The final module, which will include background information, materials lists, activity procedures, and resource lists, will be available at a later date.

Activity 1: I Belong to Earth

This introduction is a 1-1 ½-hour kick off that sets the stage for Discover Earth, and a 20-minute version opens all ensuing activities for ages 5 to 13. Children get to know each other through one of four icebreaker activities, each of which introduces an Earth system: life, water, ice, or air (Part 1). They explore Earth science books through reading and group conversations to discuss concepts and overcome vocabulary challenges (Part 2). Finally, they hear about ways to begin or continue their participation in the library’s reading program: Their ongoing involvement is supported by reading game that combines a book list and reading log into a take-home adventure (Part 3)!

Activity 2: Changes around Me

Teams of children, ages 5 to 7, explore ways in which their outdoor environment changes through three stations. Through games and crafts, they explore how weather changes every day and influences how they dress; they consider how their own wardrobes are a reflection of their region’s climate; and they imagine the changes that migratory butterflies and birds face as wetlands disappear over time. Allow 1 hour for this activity.

Activity 3: Weather Stations

Children, ages 8 to 13, consider how locally collected weather data relates to the broader Earth systems of water, ice, air, and life. First, they examine temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation data from a weather station. Then, they undergo a series of brief station activities to investigate aspects of wind, clouds, rain and snow. The stations can be flexibly implemented, but take 1 ½ hours to complete as written.

Activity 4: Climate Tour

Teams of children, ages 8 to 13, are each charged with an imaginary mission related to a real-world profession that is influenced by climate. Mission details are provided, and each mission takes place in one of seven regions of the United States. In order to complete their missions, the teams must collect information about the climate, weather, crops, plants, and animals typical of the area. The teams present their mission plans through art, writing, and with the aid of a regional map. Finally, the teams are provided with a set of What if… cards corresponding to their regions, and they reconsider their tour plans in light of future climate change. Allow 1½ hours for this activity.

Activity 5: Earth: Artistically Balanced

Teens, ages 14 to 18, depict the science behind Earth’s climate system as art, which may be created on a large scale and displayed at the library or made on a smaller scale to take home. First, they interact with a climate scientist to unravel the complexities of Earth’s climate system. Then, the teens categorize the various influences that either warm or cool Earth’s climate, including those from both natural and human sources. Next, they work together or independently to create a three-dimensional artistic representation of these influences, balanced on a mobile-style work of art. Teens leave the program with a message of hope and steps (both small- and large-scale) for taking action at home and in their communities. This adaptable program may be undertaken in 1 ½ hours, with small-scale artwork as the final product, or extended as a series of meetings to create large-scale artwork.