Instructional Materials

   Earth Science Week | Climate Resources

GIS can extend your students' investigations into the natural world, leveraging mapping and analysis tools to better understand and explore the Earth. Whether students are studying atmospheric science, geology, oceanography, or any other Earth systems science, GIS is the best approach to making sense of spatial data. The lessons and data for studying climate change with GIS are divided into four groups, based on the GIS used.

Web Mapping
Web Mapping
simple, any computer, no software install, free GIS in a web browser
ArcExplorer (AEJEE)
ArcExplorer (AEJEE)
a free, Mac or Windows application for exploring geographic data
ArcGIS Explorer
ArcGIS Explorer
a free digital globe that runs on Windows PCs
ArcGIS Desktop
ArcGIS Desktop
the professional GIS for Windows PCs



Web Mapping

Investigate over 450 variables worldwide and subnationally with the UN's Global Environment Outlook

Use United Nations Environment Programme's Global Environment Outlook web-GIS to analyze climate variables, as well as those on freshwater, population, forests, emissions, disasters, health, and GDP, as maps, graphs, and data tables.

UN's Global Environment Outlook
Map of emissions of CH4 from agriculture in 2000 for a section of the globe. What are the sources of methane, and what factors influence this pattern?

Message in a Bottle: Exploring Ocean Currents
The journey of a particle tracked for a year from its start in the tropics of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Message in a Bottle: Exploring Ocean Currents

Use the Esri Resources pages to teach spatial analysis without any software required except a web browser, thanks to ArcGIS Server technology running behind the scenes. The Message in a Bottle tool uses a particle-tracking model to show where a bottle would travel after a specified number of days if dropped in the ocean and therefore serves as an excellent teaching tool about ocean currents.


Discover Careers in Earth Science Through Map Museum

In this activity, youth or adults explore a GIS application and maps website to explore how and why GIS is used in earth science and in other fields. Goals: (1) Understand why and how GIS is used in everyday decision-making. (2) Understand that GIS extends into careers far beyond geography, into Earth Science and more. (3) Learn about the variety of scales, topics, and careers in which GIS is used.

Discover Careers in Earth Science Through Map Museum
Analyzing applications of GIS in Earth Science careers such as geology, climatology, energy, and others using the ESRI Map Museum.



AEJEE

Examining Local-to-Global Issues Using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS
Examining land use from a Landsat satellite image of Washington, DC, using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education software.
Examining Local-to-Global Issues Using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS

Use the no cost, easy-to-use, powerful ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education software to examine issues pertinent to the Americas and beyond, from local to global scale. For example, lesson 4 in the ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education tutorial invites you to examine land use in Washington, D.C., while lesson 5 invites you to investigate the relationship of climate to landforms in the United States.


Bird's-Eye View Using Satellite Imagery, GIS, and Remote Sensing to Study the United States

Investigate complex, relevant issues such as urban sprawl in Las Vegas, vegetation change in the Great Lakes, mining in Montana and Colorado, and earthquakes in California in this series of lessons that incorporates satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and GIS to make sense of the history and geography of the United States. The CD and lessons use AEJEE and are available from the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE).

Examining Local-to-Global Issues Using ArcExplorer-Java Edition for Education GIS
The CD containing the lessons, software, and data for the Birds Eye View project, targeted for students aged 10-12 but adaptable for older students.



ArcGIS Explorer

Get Local: Explore Your Community's Wild Places
Mapping and hyperlinking to a ground photograph for a local "wild" place-riparian zone on the slopes of Green Mountain, Lakewood, Colorado
Get Local: Explore Your Community's Wild Places

This activity, as well as the activity Analyzing Field Data in 3D, invites you to use 3D mapping and analysis to investigate your nearest local wild place. Use your field data, sketches, notes, photographs, links, and videos in ArcGIS Explorer to enhance your understanding about your local area.


Teaching about Watersheds with Online and 3D GIS

Without watersheds, what would happen the next time you turn on the faucet? Because they are a 3D concept, perhaps the best way to understand watersheds is by using 3D tools. ArcGIS Explorer is ESRI's no-cost, easy-to-use 3D virtual globe. Download watersheds and river data from the National Atlas for a quick but powerful way of analyzing watersheds in your area.

Teaching about Watersheds with Online and 3D GIS
Watershed boundaries, rivers, and lakes in the Colorado Front Range, looking west from the Great Plains, using National Atlas data mapped with ArcGIS Explorer.



ArcGIS Desktop

GIS for Earth Science Inquiry
Analyzing earthquakes, water chemistry, and other Earth Science concepts with 2D and 3D GIS.
GIS for Earth Science Inquiry

Discover how GIS can be used for Earth Science inquiry through this demonstration and presentation developed for Earth Science teachers.


GIS for Environmental Science Inquiry

Discover how GIS can be used for Environmental Science inquiry through this demonstration and presentation developed for environmental science teachers.

GIS for Environmental Science Inquiry
Analyzing climate, ecoregions, glaciation, and other Environmental Science concepts with 2D and 3D GIS.

Comparing Mount Saint Helens Before and After the 1980 Eruption
Digital elevation models of Mount Saint Helens, Washington, before and after the May 1980 eruption, as shown in ArcGIS 3D Analyst GIS software.
Comparing Mount Saint Helens Before and After the 1980 Eruption

What affect do volcanoes have on climate change? One of the most famous volcanoes in the Americas is Mount Saint Helens, in the state of Washington in the United States. Examine Mount Saint Helens before and after the 1980 eruption in three dimensions by using ArcGIS 3D Analyst software to create surfaces, determine what landscape is visible from a given point, and calculate the volume of material blown sky-high in the eruption.




Others

Geocaching: Learning About the Earth
Searching for a geocache, answering the questions, and uncovering the clues.
Geocaching: Learning About the Earth

Get outside! Set up and run your own high-tech treasure hunt by going geocaching with GPS receivers to explore the flora, fauna, people, and history of your own area. The course includes questions that are based on virtual caches, objects already on the ground, such as flagpoles, rocks, benches, trees, and irrigation pipes. This course was established for Earth Day in Colorado, but can be adapted for other themes and areas.




Further Investigations Integrating GIS and Earth Science

      GIS Educator: Examples of the Use of GIS in Education from Around the World
    Learn what educators and students are doing with GIS across the planet to apply spatial thinking and analysis to issues and concepts in climate, biodiversity, natural hazards, population, and more.
      GIS For Caves and Karst [PDF]
    A selection of best practices on how GIS and spatial analysis is applied to research and conservation of caves and karst.
      GIS For Mining [PDF]
    A selection of best practices on how GIS is applied to mining.
      GIS For Petroleum [PDF]
    A selection of best practices on how GIS is applied to petroleum exploration, management, and transportation.
      GIS in Polar Regions [PDF]
    A selection of best practices on how GIS is applied to icebergs, ice shelf breaks, dry valleys, and environmental monitoring.