K-12 Activities

 

Want to engage your students in learning how to collect scientific data, make observations, analyze data, and participate in the scientific process? Try out the following hands-on activities which also support teaching concepts such as change over time and space, analyzing patterns, and relationships between organisms and their habitats.

Activities are grouped by the type of data collected:

Not an educator? Check out our recommended Citizen Science Projects that engage people from all walks to life and broad geographic areas in helping to collect and analyze scientific data.


Aquatic Data Activities


The NEON aquatic observations program collects data at aquatic sites featuring streams, large rivers, and lakes. At each site, the project’s aquatic observations characterize channel and lake morphology, organism abundance and diversity, and hydrologic changes. By participating in the following activities and comparing your data to NEON’s aquatic sampling data, you’ll learn how hydrologic conditions, surface water and groundwater quality are changing across the United States.
 

Activity: From Design to Data - Water Quality Monitoring
Organization: Project Wet/ Earth Echo Water Challenge
Related NEON data: Surface water quality, water temperature
Grade Level: 11-14 yrs, 6-8th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Water Quality Indicators - Biological, Chemical & Physical Parameters
Organization: Project Wet/ Earth Echo Water Challenge
Related NEON data: Macroinvertebrates, pH
Grade Level: 11-14 yrs, 6-8th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Graphic Data & Analyzing Trends in Water Quality
Organization: Project Wet/ Earth Echo Water Challenge
Related NEON data: Surface temperature, dissolved oxygen, clarity, flow, pH
Grade Level: 11-14 yrs, 6-8th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Atmospheric Data Activities


The NEON project collects data using automated sensors mounted on meteorological towers across the United States. Tower Sensors monitor physical and chemical properties of atmosphere-related processes, such as humidity and wind. The following precipitation-related activities will walk you through collecting your own precipitation measurements that can be compared to NEON data. You can also learn how to analyze CO2 data that organizations and projects like NEON are collecting.

Activity: Rain Gauge Measurement Activity
Organization: CoCoRaHS
Related NEON data: Precipitation
Grade Level: All grades
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Practice Reading the Rain Gauge
Organization: CoCoRaHS
Related NEON data: Precipitation
Grade Level: All grades
Education Standards: No

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Activity: Rain Measurements Can Tell a Story
Organization: UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)
Related NEON data: Precipitation
Grade Level: 2-6th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Studying CO2 from Pole to Pole
Organization: UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)
Related NEON data: Precipitation
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Plant and Animal Data Activities


Field scientists for the NEON project collect observational data of plants, animals, pathogens and microbes at terrestrial field sites across the continent. By participating in the following educational activities, you will be contributing valuable data that can help us understand how plant and animal abundance, diversity, and productivity change long-term.

Activity: BirdSleuth
Organization: eBird - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Related NEON Data: Breeding landbirds
Grade Level: K-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: iNaturalist Teacher's Guide
Organization: iNaturalist
Related NEON Data: Plant phenology and diversity, soil microbes, breeding landbirds, small mammals (rodents and shrews), ground beetles (family Carabidae)
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Project BudBurst for Grades K-4
Organization: Project BudBurst
Related NEON Data: Plant phenology
Grade Level: K-4th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Project BudBurst for Grades 5-8
Organization: Project BudBurst
Related NEON Data: Plant phenology
Grade Level: 5-8th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Project BudBurst for Grades 9-12
Organization: Project BudBurst
Related NEON Data: Plant phenology
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Remote Sensing Imagery Activities


The NEON airborne observation platform (AOP) collects annual remote sensing data over NEON field sites using sensors mounted on an airplane. By analyzing NEON remote sensing data, as well as other remote sensing data from other sources, we can learn about more about how vegetation cover and density, canopy chemistry, and topography change over time.
 

Activity: Comparing Images from Drones with Satellite Images
Organization: UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research)
Related NEON Data: High-resolution Red Blue Green (RBG) imagery; ecosystem structure
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Calculating Tree Canopy Density
Organization: Digital Earth Watch
Related NEON Data: Vegetation structure, including height and Leaf Area Index (LAI)
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Investigation - Digital Images
Organization: Digital Earth Watch
Related NEON Data: High-resolution Red Blue Green (RBG) imagery; Vegetation cover and dominant vegetation type
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Activity: Investigation - Remote Sensing
Organization: Digital Earth Watch
Related NEON Data: High-resolution Red Blue Green (RBG) imagery, Digital Surface Model (DSM)
Grade Level: 9-12th grade
Education Standards: Yes

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Connecting to NEON's data

In addition to collecting your own data, you can visit the NEON Data Portal and compare your observations to NEON field sites across the country. You can also request free airborne data from NEON. Want to know if a field site is located near you? Explore our Field Site Map.

Are you using NEON data in your educational setting or community? Share your experiences with us at neoneducation@battelleecology.org.

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