Saturday, February 18, 2012

Endless Cycles

Cycles are a recurring theme in Earth science. A continuous spatial and temporal flow of matter and energy circulates through overlapping "spheres" of the Earth system, moving from reservoir to reservoir via a variety of physical and chemical processes. In our Earth science class, we see parallels among the different Earth system cycles: in the atmosphere, it's the carbon cycle; in the hydrosphere, it's the water cycle; and in the geosphere, it's the rock cycle.
Image courtesy of Microsoft Clipart

Resources abound for learning about the various Earth system cycles. Here are a few of my favorites:

Atmosphere—Carbon Cycle

NPR It's All About Carbon
NPR's offbeat science guy, Robert Krulwich, hosts five entertaining and informative animation shorts that explore the role of carbon in Earth's atmosphere.

POET Carbon Cycle, How It Works
NOAA's POET provides a set of hands-on, inquiry-based activities, one of which has students simulate the movement of carbon through the carbon cycle.

NOAA Carbon Cycle
NOAA Education Resources provides a comprehensive collection of scientific resources (data, activities, background information, and more) about the carbon cycle.

Hydrosphere—Water Cycle

NOAA JetStream, What a Cycle!
This site includes links to high quality water cycle posters, and a lesson that includes constructing a water cycle wheel that can be used for classroom discussion and simulations.

NASA Molecule Max
Part of NASA's Global Climate Change program, this video produced by NASA's JPL provides a tutorial on how the water cycle works and how NASA studies it with the latest space technology.

NASA Earth Observatory, The Water Cycle
The Water Cycle is one of the featured articles in NASA's Earth Observatory that provides a complete overview of Earth's water cycle, including data, explanation of processes, and discussion of observed trends.

Geosphere—Rock Cycle

Learner Rock Cycle Interactive
The Annenberg Foundation's Learner website includes a detailed interactive for students to explore the many aspects of the rock cycle.

AMEP Rocks
For a great source of bulk rocks (and minerals), visit American Educational Products to build your own classroom collection for students to investigate. Their Investigations in Science — Earth Science guide includes one of my favorite classroom activities for rock identification, "What Rock Is It?"

Onion We May Slowly Be Running Out of Rocks
The Onion provides a humorous article about the current state of rocks on planet Earth and our need to protect and conserve them. A fun, alternative reading activity...

If you have any favorites, please share...

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