Environmental Education

Public Lands

Get to Know Your Public Lands
(BLM Environmental Education Feature)
Interactive game in which students use clues to identify states where BLM administers public lands. 

Walk on the Wild Side: Explore Your Public Lands
(Children's activity book in PDF--requires Adobe Acrobat reader)
Children's activity book that introduces BLM and many of the issues the agency faces in managing public lands.  
English  | Spanish 

Ecosystems: Management/Great Basin/Desert

All Shapes and Sizes
(Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1998, p. 39)
Students describe and analyze landscapes at various scales to draw different conclusions in this activity.

Ecosystems In Your Backyard, In Your World
(Classroom Activities from Science & Children, Nov/Dec 1994, pp 38 - 39)
Sixteen ideas for teaching ecosystem science topics in the classroom, including developing a field guide to local trees, conducting experiments on succession and acid rain, and investigating schoolyard micro-habitats.

Understanding Ecosystem Management
(
Based on Science & Children article, November/December 1994)
Article includes concepts such as biodiversity, balance, scale, and connections and discusses how managers apply ecosystem principles in managing natural resources on public lands; includes poster and classroom activities.

Watersheds All Around, Scavenger Hunt
(Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1998, p. 39)
In these two activities students explore what a watershed is and how it works by simulating a watershed in the classroom and then making observations outside.  

Environmental Technology is an Ancient Science
(
Based on Science & Children article, May 1993 pp. 21 - 28)
Explains ancient methods of adapting to dry climates employed by a thriving agricultural community along the Rio Ojo Caliente in New Mexico 500 years ago. Includes poster and classroom activities.  

Join the Club
(Science & Children, March 1997, p. 35)
Students join one of four "clubs" representing different adaptation methods used by desert plants and research plant members of the club.

Keeping Cool
(Classroom Activity from Science & Children, Feb 2001 poster back)
In this activity, students test the effectiveness of various ways animals keep cool in desert environments. 

Life in the Desert
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1999, p. 39)
In this activity, students practice water conservation techniques similar to those a desert animal might employ to cope with scarce and unpredictable water sources. 

Mapping Deserts
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, Feb. 2001, p. 33)
In this activity, students research, map and report on the world's deserts, including subtropical, coastal, interior, and rain shadow deserts. Correlated to National Geography Standard.

Planning a Conservation Community
(
Science & Children, March 1997, 35)
Students create a desert community that protects important desert resources; a set of questions guides their design.

The Mojave Desert: A Place in the Sun
(Based on Science & Children article, February 2001)
Examines the rich, complex and fragile ecosystem of the Mojave Desert. Focuses on the plants and animals and the diversity of life and habitats contained.

The Question in Brookdale
(
Science & Children, March 1997, posterback)
By role-playing, students learn the complexities of accommodating competing demands of desert land use while protecting resources.
...and on the same webpage:

Waxy Leaves
(Science & Children, March 1997, posterback)
Activity illustrates how waxy leaves prevent water from escaping and help desert plants retain moisture. 

Wildlife

Life in a Pothole
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1999, p. 39)
Students are introduced to potholes and life within them. They speculate how various life forms come to populate potholes and create a classroom pothole to study.

...and on the same web page:

Life in the Desert
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1999, p. 39)
In this activity, students practice water conservation techniques similar to those a desert animal might employ to cope with scarce and unpredictable water sources. 

Mojave Desert Tortoise
(Website with PDF resources)
Educational resources that can be incorporated into school curriculum or for general public understanding. PDF files available in English and Spanish.

Who Lives Here?
(
Science & Children, March 1997, p. 35)
Students study animals native to the Sonoran Desert.

Create a Habitat
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1998, p. 40)
Students design a home for an animal after determining the elements it needs for survival. 

Rangeland Management: Water/Livestock Grazing/Vegetation/Soils

Riparian Activity
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1999, p. 39)
Students compare the water retention capabilities of both meandering and channelized streams through simulations in the classrooms. 

Stop the Flow!
(Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000)
In this activity students simulate protected and unprotected streamsides and compare their impact on aquatic systems.

Please Pass the Wheatgrass
(
Posterback activity from Science & Children)
In this activity students demonstrate importance of monitoring populations, food, and water on the range. 

Concentrate and Find the Weeds
(BLM Environmental Education Feature)
Interactive game in which students match pictures of weeds to reveal an important message; includes links to more information about invasive species. 

What's Wrong With This Picture?
(
Information and classroom activities)
Information about weeds with classroom activities. 

Weed Invaders
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, February 2000 p. 33 - 34)
Students set up plant competitions in the classroom to illustrate how weeds can threaten native plants.

Silent Invaders
(
Interactive website)
Website on invasive plants and animals; includes field guide, interactive game, videos with background information, and educator's guide. Requires high speed internet and Quicktime version 5. 

Just for Kids: Soil Biological Communities
(BLM national w
ebsite)
Website for children on soils--the life forms found in them and their importance.

Soil Biological Communities
(BLM national w
ebsite)
Description of the variety of life forms found in soils of rangeland ecosystems.

Mixing it Up
(Classroom Activity from Science & Children, Feb 2001 poster back)
In this activity students examine the composition of soil and make their own soil mixtures to understand the process of soil formation and how soils contribute to plant growth.

Fire

Fire's Role in Ecosystems: A Hot Topic
(BLM Environmental Education Electronic Field Trip, October 2005) 
Gives condensed account of wildfire's role in influencing ecosystems. Site includes explanation of why we study wildland fires and other resources. 

Burning Issues
(
Interactive CD-ROM)
Users learn about fire in four different ecosystems and practice their skills in building a firewise house; includes sample activity and ordering information. 

Wildland Fire Primer (PDF)
(
Teacher guide)
Guide for teachers outlining key concepts related to wildland fire education. 

Energy

Get Energized
(BLM environmental education program requires Macromedia Flash plug-in)
Explore energy consumption, production, and use, new energy technologies, energy conservation and energy challenges. 

A Teacher's Guide to Energy on Public Lands (PDF)
(BLM environmental education program)
Learn about energy resources on public lands, both renewable and non-renewable.

How's Your Energy IQ?
(
BLM Environmental Education Feature)
Interactive quiz on sources of energy, where they come from, and how we, as Americans, use them. 

Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1998, p. 40)
In these two activities, students distinguish between energy sources that are renewable and those that are nonrenewable, and discuss costs and benefits of each type.

An Energy Budget
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
In this activity, students consider ways in which they can personally reduce energy consumption. 

An Energy Profile
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
In this activity, students examine how energy is produced and consumed in their home, their community, or their state. 

Energy Conservation and Transformation
(
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, November/December 1995 p. 38 - 40)
Students study different types of train engines and analyze differences in energy efficiency. They create an energy flow diagram for different locomotives. 

Energy for the Future
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
In this activity, students explore how a fictional community will meet its future energy needs. 

Energy Resources/Wind Energy
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, September 1996 p. 47-48)
Students research and report on various energy resources. They then construct anemometers to collect data needed in planning a wind farm. 

Energy: Fuel for Thought
(
Science & Children, May 2002)
Outlines energy resources currently in use and explores resources that may power our future, with a focus on public land resources; includes poster and classroom activities.

Blowin' in the Wind
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
In this activity, students make pinwheels and use the power of the wind to do work. 

Full Steam Ahead: How to Build a Steam Engine
(
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, November/December 1995 Poster back)
Students build a steam generator system to power a single piston engine in this four-part exercise.

It's a Gas!
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
Demonstration of how the decay of organic materials can produce biogas (methane). 

Let the Sun Shine In
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
In this activity, students make solar collectors and experiment to see which ones heat water most effectively. 

WaterWorks
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002)
In this activity, students make their own waterwheels. 


Mining

A Golden Opportunity for Science
(
Science & Children, Feb. 1993)
Gold and silver mining and gold's history, allure, and unique physical and chemical qualities explored, includes classroom activities and poster. 

Climate Change

How's the Weather In There?
(Classroom Activities from Science & Children, October 1993)
Students construct a simple greenhouse to study the greenhouse effect. 

Map Relief
(
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, October 1993 p. 38)
Students create a relief map of the United States and simulate what happens when ice caps melt. 

Wild Horses & Burros

A Problem of Numbers
(
Classroom activity from Science & Children)
In this activity students investigate growth in population of wild horses and burros and consider factors that might reduce that growth. 

Demands on the Land
(
Posterback activity from Science & Children)
In this role-playing activity students research and debate viewpoints of different groups regarding removal of wild horses from the range. 

The Wild Bunch
(
Based on Science & Children article)
Examines the history and distribution of wild horses and burros in the American West; discusses management issues and includes poster and classroom activities. 

BLM California Environmental Education Programs & Centers

California's Eastern Sierra Institute
(
1998 BLM Environmental Education feature)
Describes partnership program to introduce Los Angeles high school students and science teachers to the ecology of eastern California. 

Desert Discovery Center
(
Education Center Homepage)
Describes education center in Barstow, CA, that offers formal and informal programs on natural, cultural, and historic resources of the Mojave Desert.

Miscellaneous

Resource Explorer Jim Goodbar
(BLM national website)
BLM cave specialist shares adventures and knowledge from New Mexico's Endless Cave. 

What Is Wood?
(
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000)
In this activity, students list products made from wood. 

Science in Process: Discovering the Past at Santa Cruz
An archaeological and historical account of a presidio (Spanish military fort) in southern Arizona, formerly located in the northern Spanish borderlands back in the eighteenth century . Pictures of European and Native American artefacts.

Other Federal Programs and Non-Governmental Resources

The Greenhouse Effect in A Jar
This simple experiment serves as an introduction to the greenhouse effect. Students can see for themselves the effects of a greenhouse, and relate this understanding to what occurs in our atmosphere. 

EarthDay.gov
An Internet portal for U.S. Government and federal agencies’ Earth Day activities, events and information.

Environmental Law
At the conclusion of a unit on the environment, students discuss the ramifications of ecological neglect and abuse. Focusing on air and water pollution, endangered species, and littering, they generate the negative impact of these and develop rules (laws) and penalties for polluters.