Lesson Plans

2016-2017 Flipbooks: Earth System Variables

Flipbooks: Earth System Variables


NASA visualizers take data – numbers, codes – and turn them into animations people can see and quickly understand. You can become a data visualizer by creating your own flipbook animations using maps of science variables that NASA scientists commonly study to better understand the Earth System. Each frame in the flipbooks shows monthly averages collected in 2016 and 2017. There are six flipbooks available for different science variables:

The processes in the Earth System take place in and between the Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere, and Geosphere, as well as include energy from the Sun. As we can see, Earth System processes are not bound by oceans, mountains, or country delineations–they are truly global in scope!

NASA Phenomenon Connection

NASA satellites collect data to help unlock the unexpected wonders of how our Earth works as a system.

Essential Questions

  1. What do the colors in the flipbook represent?
  2. How does this variable change over time?
  3. Why do you think these changes occur?
  4. What is affected by these changes?

Materials Required

  • Binder clip (small)
  • Scissors
  • Color PDF's printed on regular or cardstock paper

Technology Requirements

  • Standalone Lesson (no technology required)


  1. flipbook procedurePRINT (in color) flipbook on paper. (One per student)
  2. CUT cardstock along the dotted line, making 26 frames.
  3. STACK the 26 frames in order. The frames are numbered.
  4. CLIP the stack of frames together, with the binder clip.
  5. FLIP through the stack quickly.
  6. Watch and enjoy the animation.