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Photo by NASA via Unsplash

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My NASA Data


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Presentation Slides
  • Worksheet
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus



Jamboard, Google Slides, PDF, Google Forms

An Earth System View of Earthrise

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  • In this lesson, students investigate images of the Earth rising from the moon, reflect on their observations of nature, then explore global data and maps.
  • Students will color in maps using various data sets and then analyze the changes in clouds, vegetation, surface temperature, and precipitation throughout the year.
  • The lesson ends with a discussion and gallery walk.
Teaching Tips


  • All required materials are provided, including a student document, teacher slideshow, poster cards, Google Form, and Jamboard.
  • The lesson incorporates a good balance of group work, independent work, and class discussion.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Technology is required for this lesson. If devices for each student are not available, students can work in groups.
  • The lesson provides modifications to allow it to be completed either in person or virtually.
  • Students should already be comfortable with Earth's orientation in space and Earth's seasons.


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with geography classes by discussing how these physical systems shape Earth's surface and create geological features.
  • The lesson plan provides two options for extension activities or early finishers.
  • To connect this lesson to climate change, students can discuss how these systems are or could be modified by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and rising global temperatures.
  • Art students can use the first portion of this lesson to think about composition and color when taking photographs or making other visual artwork.
Scientist Notes
This resource from my NASA data introduces students to the Earthrise photo, as witnessed by Apollo 8 astronauts in 1968 and then tasks them with inventorying Earth science variables on a map. Throughout, this resource features clear instruction and all of the linked resources are of excellent quality. The lesson plan places a strong emphasis on collaboration and sharing findings with others. Students are tasked with assessing how Earth science variables are distributed, both geographically and in time. This resource is well-sourced and is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Visual Arts: Standard 7 - Perceiving and analyzing products.
      • 1.5.12adv.Re7b: Determine the commonalities within a group of artists or visual arts attributed to a particular type of art, timeframe, or culture.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
      • MS-ESS2-4. Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
      • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
  • Related Resources


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