Classroom Activities

These classroom activities are taken from a variety of BLM-produced materials, such as posters, magazine articles and education guides (so they may appear elsewhere on this website). They cover a range of topics from science to social studies and math. They can be used in lesson plans and curricula. Most of these activities are from articles that have appeared in Science and Children Magazine authored by BLM staff.

These activities are listed alphabetically by title.


A Class Act
Classroom activity from Science & Children
In this activity students classify animals and try to determine close relatives of horses and burros.
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A Classification Activity
Classroom Activities from  Science & Children, October 1993 poster back
Students classify Paleoindian artifacts based on their attributes.   
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A Crowd of Plants
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000
In this activity students examine the effects of shade on plant growth and apply what they learn to the rain forest.
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A Great Basin Full of Activities
Science & Children, May 1995, 31 - 32
A dozen activities on Great Basin ecology and management, covering effects of salt on plants, water conservation, and evaporation rates.
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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.
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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.
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An Energy Budget
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002
In this activity students consider ways in which they can personally reduce energy consumption.
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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.
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An Excavation Investigation
Science & Children, April 1992, posterback
Students determine the function of various excavation units based on objects, clues, and facts provided.
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Artifacts in Context
Science & Children, April 1992, 28 - 29
Three activities illustrate the importance of context and site mapping in studying archaeological clues and artifacts.
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Artifacts of the Future; Experimental Archaeology
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, October 1993 p. 39
Students describe today's objects as future artifacts and replicate ancient artifacts and draw conclusions in these two classroom activities.
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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.
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Chronology and Historical Records
Science & Children, April 1992, 31 - 32
These activities explore the chronology of archaeological data and the use and accuracy of historical records.
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Classifying Objects
Science & Children, April 1992, 29 - 30
In three classification activities, students organize familiar objects into categories, sort and classify pottery sherds, and answer questions.
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Classroom Agriculture
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 1993 p. 24
Five classroom activities on agricultural history and modern techniques that encourage students to learn more about the importance of agriculture in their own region.
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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.
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Creature Feature
Science & Children, March 1997, 35
Students learn about riparian zones, design a creature adapted to living in a riparian zone, then answer questions about its features.
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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.
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Earthshaking Events
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, Feb. 2001 p. 33
Students create their own version of a seismograph to understand how scientists use this tool to measure earthquake vibrations.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Escalante Pueblo Curriculum
lesson plans and activities
Ten experience-based lesson plans and activities to help plan educational visits to the Anasazi Heritage Center or Canyons of the Ancients National Monument.
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Exploring Ancient Waterways
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, May 1993 poster back
In these four activities students model and test ancient technologies used in agriculture such as water diversion and water retention, and explore how technology solved problems, then and now.
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Exploring Extinction
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, October 1993 p. 37
Students explore causes of extinction and analyze how changes in their environment might affect wildlife.
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Freezing, Permafrost and Plant Growth
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 1996 p. 34 - 35
Three activities that demonstrate effects of temperature and freezing on decomposition and the effects of permafrost on plant growth. Illustrates why decomposition is different in northern regions, such as Alaska.
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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.
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GIS and Data Activities
Classroom Activities from  Science & Children, January 2000 p. 40
Students create and discuss data sets to use in decision making and create their own grid systems in these three activities.
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GIS: A New Way to See
Based on Science & Children article, January 2000
Introduces students to technologies related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and GIS applications to natural resources decision making; includes classroom activities and a poster.
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Groundwater Movement
Classroom Activity from  Science & Children, September 1996 p. 47
In this activity students predict how water will move through rock materials such as sand, gravel, and clay; then they test their hypotheses.
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Heat Affects the Tracks
Classroom Activities from  Science & Children, November/December 1995 p. 38
Students learn about thermal expansion and research ways engineers allow for heat expansion problems in design.
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How's the Weather In There?
Classroom Activities from  Science & Children, October 1993 p. 38
Students construct a simple greenhouse to study the "greenhouse effect."
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It's a Gas!
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002
Demonstration of how the decay of organic materials can produce biogas (methane).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Mass Affects Friction
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, November/December 1995 p. 38
A simple exercise using a spring scale, some books, and string illustrates the relationship between mass and friction.
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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.
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Native or Not?
Science & Children, May 1995, posterback
Students explore local plant communities, collect plants, research their history, and determine if they are native or introduced.
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Northern Exposures, Tundra Adaptations Investigation: Size and Heat
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 1996 poster back
In this activity students study the relationship between size and heat through special investigations.  Students then use illustrated Animal Adaptation Cards to relate principles learned to animal adaptations.
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People in the Past
Exhibit and CD-ROM
Multimedia exhibit and CD-ROM on the ancient Puebloan (Anasazi) farmers of southwest Colorado; includes online activities.
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Planning a Campground in Utah
Classroom Activities from Science & Children, January 2000 poster back
Students analyze map layers provided to make decisions on placement of a campground on public lands in Utah.
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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.
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Please Pass the Wheatgrass
Posterback activity from Science & Children
In this activity students demonstrate importance of monitoring populations, food, and water on the range.
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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.
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Restoring the System
Science & Children, May 1995, poster back
Students study ecosystem concepts and apply problem-solving skills by designing a restoration project on Marys River, Nevada.
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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 classroom.
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Riparian Areas, Healthy or Unhealthy
Classroom Activity from  Science & Children, September 1996
Students use background information to identify characteristics of a healthy riparian area and make observations at a local riparian area; in the classroom, they design ways to improve the riparian area. activity>>

Setting the World Stage
Science & Children, April 1992, 27 - 28
Set of activities explores ancient maps, trade routes, and navigation techniques of early explorers of North America.
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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.
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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 species and water quality.
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The Grizzly Bear: A Debate
Classroom Activity from  Science & Children, March 1998 poster back
In this activity students debate the proposed reintroduction of the grizzly bear into some of its former habitat.
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The Line on Time
Classroom Activities from  Science & Children, October 1993 pp. 36 - 37
Students create an illustrated time line in this activity.
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The Mountain Blows Its Top
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000
In this activity students demonstrate some of the geologic processes involved in the eruption of Mount St. Helens in May 1980.
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The Power of Water
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, March 1998, p. 40
Students use a pinwheel to illustrate hydroelectric power in this activity.
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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.
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The Question in Smithdale
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, November/December 1994 poster back
Students simulate a "public meeting" to resolve concerns about a proposed land exchange involving public lands and the town of Smithdale; includes background and position cards.
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The Question of Ferret Reintroduction on the Public Lands
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, September 1996 poster back
Role-playing activity in which students present the positions of various interest groups to a mock town council on the topic of reintroduction of the endangered black footed ferret; includes background, interest group "position cards" and extensions.
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Three Volcanoes
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000
In this activity students demonstrate three types of volcanoes--shield volcanoes, stratovolcanoes, and cinder cones.
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Transportation of Logs Using a Single-Span Skyline Yarding System
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000
In this activity students demonstrate a system used for moving logs up a mountainside for transport.
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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.
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WaterWorks
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2002
In this activity students make their own waterwheels.
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Waxy Leaves
Science & Children, March 1997, posterback
Activity illustrates how waxy leaves prevent water from escaping and help desert plants retain moisture.
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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.
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What a Coin Can Tell Us
Science & Children, April 1992, p.29
Set of activities on the study of coins (numismatics) and techniques for learning about the past through coins.
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What Is Wood?
Classroom Activity from Science & Children, May 2000
In this activity students list products made from wood.
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What's Wrong With This Picture?
Information and classroom activities
Information about weeds with classroom activities.
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Who Lives Here?
Science & Children, March 1997, p. 35
Students study habitat depletion, research their community and compare the land today with the land as it was in the past. 
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