The Earth System: Connected and Sacred

Created by Russanne Low Last updated 8/19/2015

This resource bundle is designed to introduce Earth system science to elementary students. The list begins with a video segment that looks at the symbolic importance of wetlands expressed by Native Peoples, and how the different components function to cleanse the ecosystem. The idea that the land, water, plants and air are connected through their interactions is an idea also shared in Western science, and is the subject of All About the Earth: Our World on Stage, a book that can be read aloud to or read by elementary students. The book is supported by a series of activities suitable for young students, including guided field observations, a hands-on science experiment, and a kinesthetic activity.

  • Wetlands | Science | Video | PBS LearningMedia

    This video segment explains why Native people regard wetlands not only for their important ecological function, but for their spiritual value as well. The wetland is a great example to introduce the Earth system, because plants, water and land are interacting to create the landscape. Begin exploration of the Earth system with students by presenting this video where tribal elders and college students describe the importance of the wetlands. PBS LearningMedia Video for Science.
  • All About Earth: Our World on Stage

    In this book, students and their teacher learn about the Earth system as they put together a play, where each student plays a different part- air, water, life, soil, and the Sun. A song is included that helps students remember how the Earth system is interconnected.
  • We're All Connected

    In these activities, students continue to explore the idea of interaction among Earth components as they identify processes in the Earth system and indicate how they illustrate an interaction between two of the Earth system components. Uses commonly available materials (e.g., markers, colored pencils, blank wall chart paper, overhead transparency sheets).
    AAAS Benchmarks: 11A/E1
  • Earth System in a Bottle

    Working in pairs, students will create experimental conditions in terrariums in order to study what plants need to live. Variables to study include the presence or absence of soil, water, and sunlight. Students will record the growth of radish plants as well as observations of "the water cycle" in their terrariums. At the conclusion of their experiments, students will share their results with the class and discuss how water, Earth materials, and air are all necessary to support living things. The activities use commonly-available or inexpensive materials (e.g., chart paper, clear soda bottles, potting soil, radish seeds, paper towels, water, tape, foil, and index cards)
    AAAS Benchmarks: , , , 1A/E2, 8A/P1bc, 5C/P2
  • Earth System Play

    n this activity, the class will brainstorm, write, create, and produce a play in which they represent how all the Earth systems are interconnected. This play can be based on the Elementary GLOBE book All About Earth: Our World on Stage. Uses commonly-available materials (e.g., chart paper and markers) and materials for costumes and props, which can be as simple or elaborate as time and money afford. This is the concluding activity of a series of companion learning activities to this book. Includes teacher implementation guide.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 11A/E1