How I Use It
I use this site for both my high school and middle school earth science classes to present current information that goes beyond the textbook. The resources on the site cover a range of concepts and reading levels, some appropriate for middle school, others for high school. The videos provide a nice alternative for low literacy and ELL students to access content. I teach independent study/blended classes so I can post the resources I want students to use, depending on their learning goals. My students have used the article "Fracking's Hidden Hazards," as they gather evidence to make claims about America's energy policy. (HS-ESS3-3) During the unit on climate change, earth science students have a multitude of resources, from articles, videos, multimedia presentations and interviews to use for research and collect data in order to "make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems." (HS-ESS3-5). My middle school students have explored topics including, plate tectonics, volcanism, tsunamis, weather, and climate change. One of my favorite resources on the site is an interactive entitled, "Earth in Peril." This resource lets students click on various screens to analyze the effect of consumption and rapid population growth on the planet's natural resources. (MS-ESS3-4)
I love the resources that are on the site. The articles, videos, and interactives are current, engaging and puts students in the role of investigator. On the downside, there are so many resources that the teacher has to do quite a bit of research on the site to find the ones that best fit learning targets. It is called "Planet Earth" and the topics included cover everything from rocks and minerals to human impact. Plus, the reading level and/or concepts may be too low or high for a specific group of students. It would be nice if there were filters or more divisions on the site so a specific topic or reading level could be more easily targeted. Also, there is no reference at all to specific NGSS standards. It is up to the teacher to determine what resource(s) will meet a standard.