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Use the Data Literacy Cubes to guide students’ exploration of mapped data of the Earth System to enrich their observations and inferences. This is a flexible resource that may be used with a variety of mapped images. This activity requires a map of Earth data for students to evaluate.
Students explore the seasonal differences of vegetation found on land and sea.
Tiny plants called phytoplankton grow in the sunlit waters of the ocean's surface. Like all plants, phytoplankton contain chlorophyll, a pigment that transforms sunlight into energy the plant can use. This same pigment gives phytoplankton their greenish color.
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.
The colors on these maps show a measure of the "greenness" of Earth's landscapes. The values on these maps—ranging from -0.1 to 0.9—have no unit.
Students are introduced to the Earthrise phenomenon by seeing the Earth as the Apollo 8 astronauts viewed our home planet for the first time from the Moon. They will analyze a time series of mapped plots of Earth science variables that NASA monitors to better understand the Earth Syste
Information from satellites if often used to display information about objects. This information can include how things appear, as well as their contents. Explore how pixel data sequences can be used to create an image and interpret it.
This activity is modified from the USDA/US Forest Services' lesson found in the Natural Inquirer newsletter. The purpose of this hands-on activity is to engage students in a similar process for monitoring forests as NASA scientists use to study the Biosphere, whereby they apply what they know of
The Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) instrument aboard the Seastar satellite collected ocean data for more than a decade.
The Earth's system exemplifies stability and change. Change and rates of change can be observed and quantified over very short or long periods of time and at various spatial scales (e.g., from landscape level to global processes).