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.
  • Learning Experiences (Resource, Virtual labs, Lessons)
    • This page is a collection of virtual labs and resources created by Purdue University K-12 Outreach. Some of them are virtual labs that guide you and/or your students step by step through videos created by faculty and grad students in the College of Science. 



  • 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

  • Radioactivity and Half-Life (Resource, Background information, Lessons, Virtual Labs)
    • This page has background information, virtual lessons, lesson plans, and many resources to help you teach about Radioactivity and Half-Life.

  • 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 a 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)
    • A very visual site that 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.

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.


  • 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 emissions database for the entire country. The tool was made in an attempt to quantify North American fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions. You will need to download the Google Earth Plugin if your browser lacks it.
  • 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.


  • Ecology All Around Us (Virtual Lab)
    • Biodiversity isn't just something that exists far away - like all living things, you exist within a particular environment that shapes you even as you shape it. In this lab, we'll look at the biological diversity of plants and animals in our own backyards, see how that compares to different kinds of habitats, and look into the historical ecology of our hometowns: the long-term impacts that human societies have on their local surroundings. This lab will involve collecting lists of different species and creating maps of our own histories.


  • 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.
  • Determination of Available Fe in Fresh Water Sample (Virtual Lab)
    In this virtual laboratory, students will determine the total concentration of free iron in freshwater and/or municipal drinking water via visible absorption spectrophotometry. 

El Nino

  • El Nino (Introduction)
    • El Niño begins when the 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.
  • Interview with a Scientist (resource)
    • Michael Baldwin explains meteorology, weather models, El Nino, La Nina, and more

Planetary Sciences

The Solar System

  • 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 is 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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