Lunar and Planetary Institute

Discover Earth - Activities
EXPLORE! Discover Earth

Discover Earth:
Hands-on Science Activities

Through hands-on investigations and discussions, young audiences discover that Earth's global environment changes — and is changed by — the local environment. The activities explore themes connected to Earth’s geological landscape, water and ice, weather, and climate.

Earth: Volcanos Go with the Flow

EARTH: Volcanos Go with the Flow

Children use Play-Doh® and “eruptions” of baking soda and vinegar to create layers of “lava flows.” They determine their “volcano's” history of eruptions based on the layering of the different Play-Doh flows.

Earth: Stream Landscapes

EARTH: Stream Landscapes

Children create channel features with flowing water on “stream tables.”

Water and Ice: Catch the World's Ocean

WATER & ICE: Catch the World’s Ocean

In this icebreaker activity, children play a game of toss with an inflatable or stuffed globe to demonstrate that roughly three-quarters, or 71%, of Earth’s surface is covered by oceans.

Water and Ice: Ice-Y Experiences

WATER & ICE: Ice-Y Experiences

Children get to know each other — and the role that ice plays in our lives and globally as a part of Earth’s systems — by playing interactive “ice bingo.”

Water and Ice: Flubber Flows

WATER & ICE: Flubber Flows

Children use Flubber to investigate how a solid can flow and model the properties of glaciers.

Weather: Wind Streamer

WEATHER: Wind Streamer

Children create a wind streamer out of common materials and use it to determine wind direction.

Weather: Simple Thermometer

WEATHER: Simple Thermometer

Children construct thermometers out of household materials and use them to observe temperature changes at home.

Weather: Clouds Above

WEATHER: Clouds Above

Children observe Earth clouds and discover that there are different kinds of clouds at the upper, middle, and lower levels of our atmosphere.

Weather: Can a Toaster Make Wind?

WEATHER: Can a Toaster Make Wind?

Children use a toaster to heat air and observe the movement of a small aluminum foil kite — due to wind! (Adult or teen supervision required.)

Climate: FastestDresser

CLIMATE: Fastest Dresser

Children use dress-up clothes and race the clock to prepare for a given day’s weather!

Climate: Earth: Artistically Balanced

CLIMATE: Earth: Artistically Balanced
Teens depict the science behind Earth’s climate system as art.

How-to Video:  Earth: Artistically Balanced

Sustainability and Climate Change:  What is our role?  What is our responsibility?, recorded May 7, 2013
Dr. Jim White, University of Colorado, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) – Climate Change Slides (4.5 MB PowerPoint File)
Climate: Recipe for a Region

CLIMATE: Recipe for a Region

Tweens celebrate their region of the United States through food by identifying — and if possible, preparing — a regional meal (or snacks) that is suited to the climate.

Life: Nurturing Life

LIFE: Nurturing Life

Children explore what living things need to survive and thrive by creating and caring for a garden. Options include creating a garden plot outdoors (where appropriate) or in a container indoors at the library, or small gardens housed in reused soda bottles for the children to take home.

Life: Polar Bears Go with the Floes

LIFE: Polar Bears Go with the Floes  

A board game where everyone wins or loses! Tweens learn ways that they can be good environmental stewards through a collaborative game to determine the fate of a lone polar bear on an ice floe.      

How-to Video:  Polar Bears Go with the Floes


Last updated
May 2, 2016