Eyes on Earth: Teaching Earth Science from Space

Target Grade(s): PK-8


This course will take participants through a journey about space exploration and specific NASA missions that examine components of earth. Participants will learn science content grounded in Earth's Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere. By learning to use authentic data from NASA and other sources participants will experience an exploratory approach to learning about the Earth, and then bring these experiences to their own classrooms. Teachers will utilize several web-based tools and real-time data along with the three-dimensional learning in the Next Generation Science Standards to create lessons that can be used directly in the classroom.

Use NASA technology to gain a unique perspective on Earth systems and integrate authentic data into your everyday instruction.

What can I expect from this course?

Participants attend 5 LIVE, online sessions in a user-friendly format, which include, but are not limited to the following topics:

Session 1: Systems Thinking; Using Authentic Data in the NGSS Classroom
Session 2: Atmosphere
Session 3: Lithosphere
Session 4: Hydrosphere
Session 5: Biosphere

Upon completion of this course, participants will understand where to access publicly available data and how to apply it in the classrooms to teach NGSS. Instructors will guide teachers through developing integrated STEM Education lessons based on reform-based recommendations. The use of NASA satellite data to observe and study Earth systems is a powerful and exciting way to learn Earth Science.

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Disciplinary Core Ideas:

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Earth's Place in the Universe
Matter and Its Interactions
Earth's Systems
Earth and Human Activity
Engineering Design


Content topics include:

Lithosphere: layers of the Earth, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, convection, and rock formation; Hydrosphere: watersheds, rivers and streams, glaciers and ice, weather, erosion, and deposition, and ocean currents; Biosphere: biodiversity, life cycles, photosynthesis, food webs, ecosystems, and nutrient cycling; Atmosphere: layers and composition of the atmosphere, heat, air pressure, high and low pressure systems, wind, and cloud formation. All topics encourage teachers and students to use science process skills-asking questions, performing explorations and investigations, analyzing data, and drawing conclusions.

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (8 of 8 addressed):

  1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
  2. Developing and using models
  3. Planning and carrying out investigations
  4. Analyzing and interpreting data
  5. Using mathematics and computational thinking
  6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
  7. Engaging in argument from evidence
  8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

What other opportunities may I pursue?

Participants may implement course content and develop a portfolio following the guidelines of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, with the goal of submitting work for National Board Certification.

Educators may seek opportunities to present at conferences, or among colleagues and education community stakeholders. Course instructors and mentors will support your individual goals to become leaders in integrated STEM Education.