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For over 20 years, satellite instruments have measured the sea surface height of our ever-changing oceans.  This video of images shows the complicated patterns of rising and falling ocean levels across the globe from 1993 to 2015.


An animation showing “sea level fingerprints,” or patterns of rising and falling sea levels across the globe in response to changes in Earth’s gravitational and rotational fields. Major changes in water mass can cause localized bumps and dips in gravity, sometimes with counterintuitive effects.


Students explore the effects of ice sheets on global sea level using NASA data. Using the resources provided, students collaborate and communicate their findings in a jig-saw activity format.



One of the key "vital signs" of Earth's vegetation is the total green leaf area for a given ground area. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites collects global Leaf Area Index (LAI) data on a daily basis.


 Students observe seasonal images of Monthly Normalized Difference Vegetation, looking for any changes in vegetation that are occurring throughout the year.




The radar measurements made by NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory are sensitive to whether land surfaces are frozen or thawed. Students analyze two maps of SMAP data to make inferences about changes to the Arctic's Geosphere showing spring thaw.


The advance-and-retreat cycle of snow cover drastically changes the whiteness and brightness of Earth. Using these two 2017 maps created using NASA satellite data, have students review the seasonal differences of snow and ice extent.


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