Teaching about the Earth System Using Scientific Visualizations and Culturally Relevant Examples for Native American Students

Created by Russanne Low Last updated 8/20/2015

This resource bundle begins with a scientist from Navajo Technical College describing how scientific visualizations help us understand the global consequences of local actions- in this case, the contribution of coal fired power plants on the Navajo Reservation as one of the sources of CO2 in the atmosphere. Suitable for elementary and middle school students, the associated activities provide a hands-on exploration of what a scientific data visualization is, how it is created, and culminates with an activity where students use remotely-sensed images to discover ancient roadways of the Anasazi Peoples in New Mexico.

  • Mitigating Climate Change | Science | Video | PBS LearningMedia

    Learn about the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change in this video segment adapted from Navajo Technical College. Meet Patricia Palmer, a chemistry professor, who explains that coal power plants (such as those found on and around the Navajo Nation) contribute to increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. See how scientific visualizations of data can help us understand how human activities can change the composition of the atmosphere and f how global surface temperatures have increased during the 20th century.
  • The Adventure of Echo the Bat

    This interactive adventure uses a Landsat mosaic of Arizona as the interface. Students need to interpret satellite imagery to receive clues to Echo the Bat's location. As students find Echo, additional content about remote sensing and biodiversity is introduced. Resource is elementary reading level and suitable for very young audiences; there is an associated on-line game that is appropriate for older elementary and middle school students, where they meet challenges by examining and interpreting Landsat images.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 12B/M5, 3A/M2
  • Draw Your Own Visualization

    This activity provides students to create their own scientific visualization and better understand how data can be presented on maps. They learn that scientific visualizations are not photographs, but instead are representations of data, and that scientists make decisions how to best present the data.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 12D/M2, 12D/M9, 9B/H4
  • Remote Sensing Math

    "Creating and Interpreting images" has a pencil and paper activity that allows students to understand how numeric data transmitted by satellites are transformed to images that make sense to us visually. Check out this fun activity on page 128, activity 56. Answer key is provided. Suitable for elementary- high school.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 2B/H3
  • How Does Remote Sensing Help Us Understand the Anasazi?

    The history of Indigenous peoples has been enhanced through the use of remote sensing. Remote sensing, using Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) data, has lead to the discovery of previously unknown roads in the canyon area of New Mexico once occupied by the Anasazi culture. Students will use those images, along with maps and photos, to observe the roads and surrounding area. Students will then compare the value of each media (image, map, photo) in uncovering and interpreting archeological information. Emphasis is placed on the map/image reading skills of direction and scale. The URL opens to the investigation directory, with links to teacher and student materials, lesson extensions, resources, teaching tips, and assessment strategies. . This resource is suitable for advanced elementary- middle school.
    AAAS Benchmarks: 1A/E2, 3A/M2, 12D/E5