Activities

Click each category to preview descriptions of Planet Diary activities.

  • Atmosphere
    • Acid Rain
      Describes the sources and effects of acid rain.
    • How Clean Is Your Air?
      Looks at the Air Quality Index and what it says about the cleanliness of the air we're breathing.
    • Global Climate Change
      Explores the links between burning fossil fuels, the greenhouse effect, and global climate change.
    • The Ozone Layer
      How stratospheric ozone protects us from ultraviolet radiation and a look at the thinning of the ozone layer.
    • Exploring Hurricanes
      Takes a close look at hurricane structure and formation.
    • Tracking Hurricane Katrina
      Tracks the growth and evolution of Hurricane Katrina from a disorganized tropical depression to a dangerous Category 5 storm.
    • Hurricane Predictions
      Explores the data scientists look at to make predictions about hurricane frequency and intensity.
    • Today's Weather
      A detailed look at weather data of today's conditions across the United States.
    • Thunder and Lightning
      Explores the science behind thunder and lightning, including a global look at lightning strike frequency.
    • The Scoop on Tornadoes
      Investigates how tornadoes form and looks at common myths.
  • Biosphere
    • Endangered Species in Your State
      Students "adopt" an endangered animal in their state to find out about the threats to its survival and outlook for recovery.
    • Rainforests of the Sea
      Coral reefs feature incredible biodiversity, but face many threats.
    • Nowhere to Run
      Examines how global climate change impacts wildlife.
    • Invasive Mussels
      Case study of the impact of invasive mussels in the United States.
    • Sonar and Marine Mammals
      Explores how underwater sonar tests may harm marine mammals.
    • How Fire Affects Wildlife
      Students "adopt" an animal to learn how wildfire affects its behavior and long-term survival.
    • Shrinking Rainforests
      Explores why rainforests are so important and tracks how they've been affected by deforestation.
    • Mercury in the Environment
      Examines how mercury gets into the environment and the health problems it causes.
    • Cellular Invaders
      Students learn how the body responds to cellular invaders such as bacteria, then write the ending to a Cell Wars script.
    • Secondhand Smoke
      Investigates how secondhand smoke threatens public health.
    • Zoonoses
      Students gather information on diseases, such as swine flu, that spread from animals to people.
    • Evolution of a Virus
      Explores the process of natural selection and how random mutations drive the evolution of a virus.
  • Hydrosphere
    • Drought in Your State
      Students explore current and long-term drought conditions in their state.
    • How Tsunamis Form
      Tracks the spread of the deadly Indonesian tsunami in 2004, then traces the the steps in the formation of a tsunami.
    • Tsunami Waves
      Students interpret tsunami wave amplitude and arrival time data to understand the pattern of destruction of these powerful waves.
    • Monitoring River Levels
      A look at current streamflow conditions across the United States and in the student's local area to explore today's flood danger.
    • Hurricane Katrina's Floods
      Students analyze satellite photos to explore the impact of floods from Hurricane Katrina.
    • Phytoplankton
      A look at the role of phytoplankton in marine ecosystems, and the links between temperature, pollution, and plankton levels.
    • Oil Spill ESI Maps
      Explores how ESI (Environmental Sensitivity Index) maps are use to determine how vulnerable a coastline is to an oil spill.
    • El Niño
      Examines the cause and global impact of El Niño.
  • Geosphere
    • Earthquakes in Your State
      Students explore the seismic history and geology of their state.
    • Seismic Waves
      A comparison of the different types of seismic waves that move through the ground in an earthquake.
    • Drifting Continents
      An exploration of how continents have drifted over millions of years, and where they might be headed in the future.
    • Anatomy of an Earthquake
      An in-depth look at seismic data from the magnitude 7.9 China earthquake of 2008.
    • Radtown USA
      Students visit the EPA's Radtown USA to learn about natural and man-made sources of radiation in the environment.
    • Volcanoes and Plate Tectonics
      Students find out about recent volcanic eruptions and discover the tectonic plates involved.
  • Cryosphere
    • Global Meltdown
      Explores the impact of global warming on the cryosphere and global sea level.
    • Glaciers
      Examines how glaciers form and looks at the different kinds. Students control temperature and precipitation of a virtual glacier.