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Critical Zone Education


found in: science; preK-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12

Earth’s Critical Zone is the near surface environment in which rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact. Critical Zone Education
incorporates critical zone science topics and research methods in lessons and activities for K-12. Resources are easily aligned with NGSS, and future updates will list those alignments.

A Tree’s Water Cycle: Students (K-6) explore evapotranspiration as they take a journey as a water molecule moving throughout a tree’s water cycle. Scroll to the activity guide & print materials, which supplies leaf, trunk & limb, roots, atmosphere, soil and groundwater cards for water cycle stations.

Tools of the Trade: Methods for Measuring Trees: Students (3-8) work in teams and use one of three different methods to measure and compare the sizes of trees. Scroll to the activity guide and measurement methods handout. NGSS included.

Shaved Ice SWE: (Snow Water Equivalent) Using a shaved ice maker or real snow, students (6-12) work in small groups with measurement tools and mathematics to determine the volume of water contained in a sample of snow. The activity guide lists California State Standards.

SimWater: Simulating Water Supply, Demand, and Management: Students (10-12) explore issues water managers solve as they regulate systems of water storage, delivery, and consumption. Scroll to the lesson to find links to the activity worksheet & instructions, scenario maps & allocation pieces, and budgeting calculation spreadsheets.

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