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Earth Science Lessons: Preschool – 5th grade

STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) lessons are adaptable to various developmental levels of students. Grades noted next to descriptions are mere recommendations.

Agents of Weathering and Erosion

Students will design and construct a landscape to observe how plant and rocks affect soil erosion.

Prekindergarten–5th grade


Students will learn about wind energy and construct a working anemometer, then collect and record data.

1st–5th grade

Build an Earthquake Proof Home

Students will discover how the earth relieves stress through volcanoes and earthquakes. They’ll put their engineering and architectural skills to the test by building an earthquake proof home.

2nd–5th grade

Building Beaches

Students will build a model beach and see how waves affect the shoreline of the beach.

2nd–5th grade

Building Dams; Be a Beaver

Students will be introduced to some of the issues engineers face in building dams: they must be both waterproof and strong enough to withstand the pressure of water.

2nd–5th grade

Cars From the Future

Students will brainstorm alternate ways to power a vehicle to reduce emissions. Student teams design an eco-friendly car using the engineering design process and make a presentation to showcase their product.

2-3 class periods recommended.

4th–5th grade

Cloud Cycle

Students will discover the path of water as it condenses to form a cloud, is rained or snowed for precipitation and then evaporates in the sky again by wind or sunshine through hands-on experiments.

Preschool–3rd grade

Cold Colder Coldest!

Students will learn about temperature and properties of insulators, then complete an insulation experiment.

1st–5th grade

Earth - Round like a ball

Students will explore characteristics of earth and discover what causes seasons, day and night.


Energy Everywhere!

Students will identify examples of energy in their everyday lives and environment through interactive activities.

Kindergarten–5th grade

Environmental Interactions

Students will create a “web” to identify and demonstrate the interactions among the living and non-living parts of an environment.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Fossil Formation

Students will explore real fossils, learn about how fossils are made and make a fossil to bring home.

2nd–5th grade

Fun with Fossils

Students will discover differences between trace fossils and petrified fossils through hands-on activities.

1st–5th grade

Gravity - The Mystery Force

Students explore the effects of gravity on ping-pong balls through various experiments.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

If You Find a Rock

Students will discover properties of different rocks, explore their uses and become a rockhound.



Students will perform plate tectonic experiments.

2nd–5th grade

Layers of the Atmosphere

Students will study earth’s atmosphere and discover what happens when warm and cold air masses mix, why we see shooting stars and more.

1st–5th grade

Let’s Talk Trash - Recycling vs. garbage

Great for Earth Day!

Students will compare and contrast recycling vs. garbage

Preschool–5th grade

Let Your Ears Do the Walking

Students will experience a simulation of echolocation, using the sensory method to walk along a path while blindfolded.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Mission: Clean Water

Students will examine pH and make a working water filter that cleans dirty water.

2nd–5th grade

Oil Spill

Students will examine the environmental effects of oil in a lake and shoreline, then perform an oil spill clean up.

2nd–5th grade

One World Ocean

Students will discover how much of our planet is covered by ocean and examine ocean habitats.

Preschool–2nd grade

Sail Away

Students will implement the engineering design process to create a sail to help move a “boat” across the water using their breath as the wind.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Shadow Patterns & Sundials

Students will build sundials and collect data based on their observations.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Skittles Erosion Lab

Students will compare and contrast mechanical and chemical weathering and erosion.

1st–5th grade

Solar Ovens

Students construct a working solar oven and learn about solar energy.

1st–5th grade

Sound Mapping

Students will use their sense of hearing to discover the range of activities and inhabitants that occupy the space around their school grounds or nearby areas. The purpose of this lesson is to teach students how to draw and read a map using symbols and legends. It also helps them learn how to observe their surroundings thoughtfully using their senses and offers an introduction to categorizing species.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Stomp Rockets

Students will explore air pressure, Newton’s laws of motion, mass, gravity by constructing working stomp rockets.

3rd–5th grade

The Effects of Acid Rain

Students will conduct a simple experiment to model and explore the harmful effects of acid rain on living and non-living objects.

2 class periods, approximately 4 days apart preferred

2nd–5th grade

This Land is Your Land

Students will consider the environmental effects of the different types of land use. Students will act as community planning engineers to determine where to place a new structure that will have the least effect on the environment.

2-3 class periods recommended.

3rd–5th grade

Thunder Boomer

Students will explore components of a thunderstorm and understand how a cloud makes rain and what causes thunder and lightning.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Water Cycle

Students will experience the components of the water cycle on our planet.

Preschool–5th grade

Water Wheel

Students will design and build a working water wheel and calculate how much work is being performed by it.

3rd–5th grade

Waves of Sound

Students will discover that sound is a form of energy that moves in waves and experiment with “seeing” and hearing sound waves.

Prekindergarten–5th grade

Windy City

Students will measure wind speed and construct a building that can withstand strong winds.

Preschool–5th grade
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