Resources for Teachers / Useful Web Links - Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences - Purdue University Skip to main content

Resources for Teachers / Useful Web Links

General Earth Science

  • Superheroes of Science (Resource, Videos)
    • Releases interviews with scientists on Mondays. HAs teacher PD presentations, and has a number of student playlists. 
  • The Earth Science World Image Bank (Images)
    • The Earth Science World Image Bank is a service provided by the American Geological Institute (AGI). This Image Bank is designed to provide quality geoscience images to the public, educators, and the geoscience community.
  • Earth Revealed (Background Information, Videos)
    • This site hosts a video instructional series from Annenberg Media on geology for college and high school classrooms and adult learners - 26 half-hour video programs.



  • BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs (Resource, Images)
    • Go beyond dinosaur pictures and view these fascinating enigmas in 3-D. Explore the age of the dinosaurs with this BBC program and see what prehistoric animals may really have looked like.
  • The Dino Directory (Background Information, Resource, Images)
    • Search the Dinobase for your favorite dinosaur, see current news in the field of paleontology, or see pictures of dinosaurs on the dinosaur website at the British National History Museum.

Geologic Dating

  • Stratigraphy Time Scale Poster (Resource)
    • The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has a detailed Time Scale poster you can download and a Time Scale Creator program that lets you use various user-defined criteria to make a time scale poster.
  • Clocks in the Rocks (Resource)
    • Discusses radioactive dating of various materials and the question "How Old is the Earth?"

Rocks & Minerals

  • Wonderful World of Rocks and Minerals (Background Information, Lessons)
    • This site has Web-Based Unit for Sixth Grade. It includes background information and a variety of lessons for both rocks and minerals.


  • Explore Shale (Resource, Background Information)
    • Very visual site which explores natural gas drilling and development in the Marcellus Shale. Complimentary posters are available for educators who fill out a form.

Plate Tectonics

  • Earthquake Center (Resource)
    • This USGS site lets you discover where and when earthquakes have occurred. Includes historic earthquakes, recent quakes, and allows you to search regionally, globally, by size, etc.
  • Professor Larry Braile's Earth Science Education Activities (Lessons)
    • Lesson plans for teaching about seismology and other Earth Science topics. Includes descriptions of demonstrations, experiments and activities for teachers and students. The lessons are designed primarily for teachers of grades 5-12 but can be adapted.
  • This Dynamic Planet (Resource)
    • World map of volcanoes, earthquakes, impact craters, and plate tectonics. Download a PDF version for free or order a print version from the USGS.
  • Volcanoes Lesson Plan from USGS (Lessons, Background Information, Images)
    • Nice overview of a variety of volcano-related topics. The teacher's guide and lessons area has lessons for grades 4-8 and are downloadable.
  • Incoporated Research Institutions for Seismology (Resource, Images)
    • A good web resource focused on seismology. Includes the Seismic Monitor, which shows current earthquakes, as well as downloadable animations and photos.
  • Did You Feel It? (Background Information)
    • A site used to report earthquake experiences. There is also some information regarding how the reports are used, as well as a list of actual earthquakes.

Remote Sensing

  • CRISM Curriculum Guide (Lessons, Background Information)
    • A great resource for comparing Mars and Earth features (Grades 5-8) The hands-on activities in our comprehensive curriculum guide will take students and teachers alike into the incredible world of Mars exploration.
  • National Geographic Map Maker (Resource)
    • An easy to use map-making site. You can add layers of geologic, environmental, climate, history, boundaries, and a ton more.
  • ESRI Free GIS Software  (Resource)
    • ESRI is the company that makes ArcExplorer, a free Geographic Information System (GIS) software. They are based in California and have a very large user conference every year.

Atmospheric Sciences

General Atmosphere

  • Cycles of The Earth Systems (Lessons, Background Information)
    • Several modules on Atmosphere, Ozone, Climate, and the "Greenhouse Effect". Each section provides background information, learning concepts, and activities.
  • Introduction to the Atmosphere (Lesson, Background Information)
    • A brief overview of the properties associated with the atmosphere. Includes a very good background knowledge section and four activities. Middle school level.
  • Water Cycle Demo (Resource)
    • A video demonstrating how to illustrate the water cycle.


  • Stormy Weather (Lessons)
    • This page provides a simple lesson plan for static electricity. Not much wow factor except with little kids. However, these lessons do demonstrate the concept well.
  • Weather Maps (Resource)
    • These maps can show the almost seamless movement of weather systems across the country over a period of several hours. Includes weather maps as well water, air quality, and more. Can mouse over to see forecast maps for the next three days.
  • Cloud in a Bottle (Resource)
    • A video demonstrating how to make a cloud in a bottle.
  • The Rain Cup (Resource)
    • A video demonstrating how to use the Rain Cup activity.
  • How to Use the Tornado Machine (Resource)
    • A video demonstrating how to use the Tornado Machine.

Climate Change, Global Warming, and the Greenhouse Effect

  • Project Vulcan (Resource)
    • This site has an online CO2 emmissions database for the entire country. The tool was made in attempt to quantify North American fossil fuel carbon dioxide emmisions. You will need to download the Google Earth Plugin if your browser lacks it.
  • Bringing Climate Change Into the Classroom (Lesson, Background Information)
    • This link is to a PDF unit covering Greenhouse Effect, Climate Change and Sea Salt. The teacher background is very good and the lessons are not overly complicated. Could be used just to beef up your knowledge also.
  • Earth's CO2 Home Page (Resource)
    • This site displays the most current CO2 level, along with other relevant information such as updates on global temperature and information on global carbon emissions.


  • Marine Geology and Geophysics Images: Visualizing Data (Images)
    • NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) has posted an array of both high and low resolution images that you can download including the Great Lakes Geomorphology, Sediment Thickness of the Ocean Floor, Globes, Seafloor topos, and others.
  • Watersheds and Sediment Transport (Lessons, Resources)
    • The National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics has a few activities posted, which generally deal with sediment transport, and 3D maps that can be projected onto a screen or printed out.

El Nino

  • El Nino (Introduction)
    • El Niño begins when water warms up by more than 1°F along the equator in the eastern Pacific and off the coast of Peru. Nutrients normally found in the cold waters of the area disappear. 
  • El Nino (Background Information, Resources)
    • El Niño theme page posted by NOAA. Includes information, and resources, and frequently asked questions about El Niño and La Niña.

Planetary Sciences

The Solar System

  • The Earth as a Peppercorn (Lesson)
    • This site describes how to make a scale model of the solar system out of ordinary objects. A little dated but still useful for visualizing both the relative size and spacing of the planets.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day (Resource, image, video) 
    • Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. I like the animation of the moon phases that the link takes you to. 


  • Impact: Earth! (Resource)
    • A site used to calculate the effects of a hypothetical projectile hitting the Earth's surface. Input information such as the diameter of the projectile and impact angle to discover the effect of the impact. Also includes a list of famous craters and a glossary of relevant terms.
  • Randy Korotev’s excellent “Meteorwrong” website. (Resource)

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