Educational Resources - Search Tool
Use the My NASA Data 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.
Purpose: Consider using this mini-lesson during the last 10 minutes of the class period/lesson to assess students formative learning.
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.
Sea surface temperature is a measure of the temperature of the very top layer of water. Scientists are not able to put a thermometer into every part of the ocean on Earth to measure its temperature.
The Soil Moisture Active Passive mission (SMAP) was launched in 2015 as the first NASA satellite dedicated to measuring the water content of soils. The satellite uses a radiometer to measure soil moisture in the top 5 centimeters of the ground.
The radar measurements made by NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory are sensitive to whether land surfaces are frozen or thawed.
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.