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April 2006

Exploring the Environment
Twenty-five teaching modules on the ecosystem, supported by NASA.
Grade Level: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Exploring the Environment is a NASA sponsored project from the Wheeling Jesuit University's Center for Educational Technology. It has as its goal, "to help students make better choices for the future by understanding the impact today's decisions have on their planet." It includes twenty-five interdisciplinary teaching modules.
This well-organized site is user-friendly. Links are listed on the right side of the main page. Internal pages can be navigated intuitively. The module notes pages require a password that can be requested online for free.

This is an excellent way for teachers to involve their students in problem based learning on topical issues. Exploring the Environment includes twenty-five online modules for grades 5-8 and 9-12 that cover such topics as coral reefs, El Nino, climate change, volcanoes and much more. Students use remote sensing and other techniques to formulate problem statements, collect and analyze data, prepare and present their findings, and recommend solutions. The teacher pages offer help for getting started with the program; planning, facilitating and assessing; an overview of problem based learning; the opportunity to connect with other teachers; software that is needed; other useful Web sites; and module notes (must request password for this). From the main page, users can access the K-4 Earth Science Modules and the Earth Science Explorer for Middle Grades. The K-4 modules topics include biomes; weather, climate; remote sensing; and Earth system. Each module contains an overview section, online and hands-on activities, and an Earth action story. The Earth Science Explorer covers such topics as dinosaurs, Super Nova, volcanoes, orbital changes, plate tectonics, geologic time, biomes and much more.



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