Resources for Educators - USGS

Nov 10, 2015

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the government agency that provides scientific information and impartial study of our natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data and issues that affect our quality of life. Since 1879, USGS has been conducting research and gathering data within the disciplines of biology, geography, geology, geospatial information and water.

Each of the five scientific disciplines listed above maintains an individual website where you can find specific information about the research and programs taking place within that particular area. In addition, most of these individual websites offer their own unique resources for students and educators.

Below is a compilation of information we hope you will find useful in your classroom!

USGS Resources :

Biological Resources Discipline Learning Room
The BRD within the USGS maintains this website to provide information about the scientific research taking place and about the conservation of our natural resources. The "Teachers Only" section of the "Learning Room" site provides links to federal and non-profit organizations with educational resources.

Students learn to identify birds and partner with scientists to collecting meaningful data! Students engage in the process of science by carefully observing birds, asking and answering their own questions based on observations and data, and publishing their original research.

Classroom Earth
Classroom Earth is a non-profit organization that promotes environmental education by providing educational resources for K-12 teachers. Included on this website are classroom programs, after-school programs and home school programs.

Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)
DLESE's educational resources include lesson plans, scientific data, visualizations, interactive computer models and virtual field trips relevant to Earth systems science education. Also included on their site is a section designed specifically for educators of K-12 and undergraduate students.

A part of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Earthguide is an extensive site dedicated to providing educational resources in earth and environmental science.

Earth Science Week
A national and international event organized by the American Geological Institute (AGI) to help the public gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. The website offers tools for educators including classroom activities, Earth Science Week kits for teachers and many other educational resources.

Earthquakes for Teachers!
With a new searchable database called "Learning Links" to help you find classroom information, activities and lessons about earthquakes, this site provides maps, pictures and information about earthquakes.

Earthwatch Institute - Resources for Educators
Earthwatch is a non-profit organization that promotes scientific field research and education. This site offers lesson plans, funding resources and educator fellowship opportunities.

Educational Resources for Paleontology
Educational resources for teachers and students who are interested in paleontology and related earth and biological science disciplines. This site includes informational links about dinosaurs, fossils, geologic time and plate tectonics.

Education World
Founded in 1996, an online "everything education" site dedicated to teachers. Besides having a search engine devoted to education sites, the science page categorizes lesson plans organized by grade level and subject.

EnviroLink Network
This site provides access to thousands of online environmental resources including comprehensive, up-to-date environmental information and news. Also find environmental education resources and links to scientific information.

Environmental Explorer
A lesson plan in which students use observation skills to analyze changes that people have made to the natural environment.

Exploring Earth: Explore the World of Earth Science
Provides investigations and visualizations of earth science topics, with sections focused on careers, earth news, data and local resources. Students can interact with the investigations and visualizations through features such as clickable animations and images.

The Exploratorium is a non-profit science museum in San Francisco, and on this website you will find information about the 1989 earthquake "Loma Prieta," ideas for hands-on lessons about earthquakes from The Learning Studio and other useful links related to earthquakes.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence
This is the general site containing resources for educators of all disciplines. Within this site are links to specific resources for the areas of science corresponding to USGS, including geology, biology, paleontology and earth science.

"The Fragile Fringe"
This site is a guide to teaching about wetlands and is located within the website for the National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC), which provides information about wetland ecology, data, maps and links to hot topics around the country.

Geologic Society of America - Teacher Resources
The Geologic Society of America (GSA) provides K-12 lesson plans and other teaching resources in the earth sciences, including geology, geography, paleontology, plate tectonics, water and earthquakes.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day is an international event organized to introduce and showcase the uses of GIS. Check out this website to find local events.

Give Water A Hand
Give Water A Hand is a national watershed education program designed to involve young people in local environmental service projects. Here you'll find instructions on how your class can complete a community service project to protect and improve water resources.

National Geographic Society
A principal sponsor of GIS Day, NGS has many great resources for interactive, geography-focused activities on their website. Also included on this site are teaching tools, classroom activities, maps, photos, lesson plans and professional development opportunities.

National Geographic Society - Expeditions
On this website, the National Geographic Society provides educators with lesson plans and activities that address all of the United States National Geography Standards, the five geography skills and the main geographic perspectives.

NOVA Teacher's Guide
This website provides educators classroom activities, learning materials, visual resources and student interactives in fields including earth science, life science, paleontology and space science.

One Sky Many Voices
An educational project partly funded by the National Science Foundation that provides educational programs focused on the environmental sciences and science curricula for K-12 students.

PBS TeacherSource
By teachers, for teachers, the PBS TeacherSource invites you to explore a vast array ofresources including PBS television programs, tools for teaching, and resources by curricular subject, topic and grade level.

Peace Corps - Resources for Educators
A useful website for teachers wanting to include global education in their lesson plans. Educators of science, social studies, mathematics and geography will benefit from the information within this website, which includes lesson plan ideas for K-12 teachers, maps and graphs for visual aides, "destination" lessons on different areas of the world and a special link to "Earth Day for Educators."

Purple Loosestrife Volunteer Opportunity
Volunteers are collecting data to help assess purple loosestrife (an invasive plant species) in their regions. Your class can volunteer to help!

Schoolyard Geology
Find useful geology lessons and activities to teach students about geology right in your own schoolyard. - Resources for Kids, Parents and Teachers
A wide public access collection of resources for kids, parents and teachers related to education in all areas of science.

Science in Your Watershed
This site offers a substantial inventory of educational resources focused on water education, watershed education and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) education. You can also enter your location and find specific information and local activities within your own watershed.

Smithsonian Institute, Resources for Educators
The Smithsonian Institute maintains this site to provide PreK-12 educators with educational resources such as lesson plans, field trip ideas, publications and various informational links all separated by subject.

Discusses the Tyrannosaurus rex and the role it played in its ecosystem. Includes objectives, materials, procedures, discussion questions, evaluation ideas, suggested readings and vocabulary. Also found on the Discovery Education website are additional ideas for lesson plans, curricula and teaching tools.

Triumph of Life Resources
Maintained by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), the Web companion to a six-part miniseries that examines how evolution has shaped the existence on our planet.

Urban Bird Studies
Citizens, including K-12 students, gather data on urban birds, and scientists at Cornell use the data to answer scientific questions about urban birds. A great classroom project!

USDA National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) - Conservation Education Resources
The United States Department of Agriculture's NRCS maintains this site to provide teachers and students with educational resources in science and conservation.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) - Educator's Page
This website includes curriculum resources and activities, community service projects, professional development opportunities and many other helpful links.

USGS Educational Resources Page
This page provides a variety of links to both USGS and non-USGS sites that contain information for students and educators.

USGS Geography Educational Materials
The Geography Discipline within the USGS maintains this site to provide educational resources explaining the mapping sciences and earth resources. Included are downloadable teaching packets and links to other sources of educational resources related to the USGS science disciplines.

U.S. Global Change Research Program - Educational Resources
This site is a portal to many other sites with educational resources and information for educators and students, including environmental education and outreach.

USGS Learning Web - Water Educational Resources
This site links to the "Water Science for Schools" with information on many aspects of water including pictures, data, maps and an interactive center. In addition, you'll find a publication that describes ground-water and a list of educational materials and activities related to water.

USGS Science Challenge Questions and Answers
A collection of questions and answers covering volcanoes, earthquakes, hydrology, biology, minerals and cartography.

USGS Water Resources Information for Students and Teachers
The Water Resources Discipline within the USGS maintains this list of links for water-related educational resources for students and teachers. Information included ranges the topics of groundwater, real-time water data around the country, local water information, watersheds and aquifers.

Volcano Resources for Educators
This site provides educators with fact sheets and education material related to plate tectonics and volcanic activity around the world.

Volcano World
Want to teach about volcanoes? Here you'll find all you need to get started, including volcano lessons, hands-on classroom activities, virtual field trips to volcanoes, information about current and past eruptions around the world and answers to any volcano question you might have.

Water Science for Schools
Here you'll find a picture gallery, an activity center and a list of other water-related links for additional information about water, water use, the water cycle and more.


Visual Resources:

3D Photo Tours of National Parks
This site provides 3D photo tours featuring the geology and natural history of our national parks. Photo tours can be viewed in 3D (with 3D glasses) or as standard images.

Antarctica Field Trip Teacher's Resources
Focuses on the subject of Antarctica, including plate tectonics, climate, glaciers and ice movement, scientific research, flora and fauna and how decisions are made about the continent. Designed as an electronic tour, it guides the user through different Web sites and outlines teaching objectives, concepts covered and new vocabulary.

Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Educational Resources
This site offers many downloadable videos about marine geology and biology, and more visual resources for coastal and marine geology education.

NBII Digital Image Library
National Biological Informational Infrastructure (NBII) maintains a library of digital imagesrepresenting wildlife, nature and environmental issues.

New York Wild WebCams
Exciting recorded and live footage of wildlife! For example, watch the progress of an osprey's nest from hatching to fledging!

Picturing Science - USGS Online Science tours
Fun, photographic tours of natural landscapes and wildlife.

USGS-BRD Photo Gallery
The Biological Resources Discipline provides an array of nature-inspired photographs.

USGS Earth Shots
Very detailed satellite images of local and global importance to environmental change, including informational articles explaining change in specific areas.

USGS Maps and Images
This site provides an array of planetary maps, including GIS maps, topographic maps, interactive maps and satellite images.

Your Sky
This is an interactive planetarium where you can produce maps of the sky for any time and date, viewpoint and observing location. Just choose a nearby city and any point in time, past or future, and see a map of the sky!

Regional Educational Resources:

America's Wetland - (New Orleans)
America's Wetland is a public interest campaign organized to raise awareness of the impact of Louisiana's wetland loss and increase support for efforts to conserve and save coastal Louisiana. Here you'll find educational materials, activities and an "Info Central" section for more information about wetlands.

Fish of the Great Lakes (Wisconsin Sea Grant)
This link provides information about the fish of the Great Lakes, including illustrated anatomy lessons, the latest research news and identification guides for both native and non-native species.

Great Lakes Science Center, Research and Educational Resources
This site contains information about the Great Lakes, including history and culture, ecosystems and environment, geography and local educational resources for students.

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Educational Information for Students and Teachers
PWRC conducts research related to birds, amphibians and reptiles, ecology, wetlands, contaminants, wildlife monitoring, populations and biodiversity. Their website contains biological information about wildlife, including species identification tools and tutorials, as well as educational handouts and research methods.

Science in Your State
Just click on your state from the map and get real-time information about stream flows, groundwater, geology, recreation or find state USGS Science Centers.

South Florida Ecosystem History Project, Kids Corner
Find information about the south Florida ecosystem, what USGS scientists are studying and how they are helping to preserve this endangered ecosystem.

USGS Science Center Locations
Here you'll find links to the Biological Resources Discipline's (BRD) Regional Offices and Science Centers. For each location on the map there are more research stations listed throughout that particular region.

USGS Water Research Program by Region
Just choose your state and quickly get real-time water information, including stream-flow, ground water and water quality data.


Professional Development Opportunities for Educators :

National Geographic Education Foundation - Teacher Grants
NGEF is dedicated to promoting geography education and offers grants for teachers to complete geography education projects with their class, school and/or community.

Outward Bound
A non-profit educational organization, Outward Bound provides several different programs for students and teachers. Programs include wilderness expeditions, professional programs and urban enrichment programs.

Sea World/Busch Gardens/Fujifilm Environmental Excellence Awards
This website provides information about a monetary award given to an environmental educator, a school or a community group that demonstrates an accomplishment in environmental protection or conservation.

Smithsonian Institute - Professional Development Opportunities for Educators
A short list of ideas for professional development for educators, including workshops and teaching programs.

Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic
The Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic program pairs classroom teachers with scientists in the field and requires them to share their experience as broadly as possible when they return to the classroom. The TEA Web site contains journals kept by participants during their fieldwork, a list of participants by state, and suggested lesson plans as well as other resources.

U.S. Government Volunteer Opportunities
Here you will find a catalog of volunteer opportunities within the federal government that is searchable by location, area of interest or by position. You will also find additional information about national volunteer events.

USGS Resources for Students Page