Lesson Plans (Other)

The following sections identify a variety of activities, which were not developed by AmericaView but which are also recommended for classroom use.

GLOBE Landcover “Adopt a Pixel”

AmericaView welcomes the “Adopt a Pixel” module in the NASA Globe Observer App.  AV will be utilizing this App in the future for education and outreach endeavors.

You can be part of a project to create more detailed satellite-based global maps of land cover by sharing photos of the world around you in a new NASA citizen science project.

The project is a part of GLOBE Observer, a citizen science program that lets you contribute meaningful data to NASA and the science community. The GLOBE Observer app, introduced in 2016, includes a new “Land Cover: Adopt a Pixel” module that enables citizen scientists to photograph with their smartphones the landscape, identify the kinds of land cover they see (trees, grass, etc.), and then match their observations to satellite data. Users can also share their knowledge of the land and how it has changed.

“Adopt a Pixel” is designed to fill in details of the landscape that are too small for global land-mapping satellites to see.

ESRI’s ChangeMatters Viewer

ESRI’s free Web application, ChangeMatters, allows teachers and students to rapidly view Global Land Survey (GLS) Landsat* imagery anywhere in the world (including around your school!), both multi-spectrally and multi-temporally, and to map change over time. The application’s functionality includes the ability for users to rapidly:

  • Search for Landsat GLS imagery anywhere in the world,
  • View Landsat GLS imagery in up to 11 different band/ product variations and compare the imagery to base maps,
  • View two dates of imagery and a change image side by side with linked pan and zoom. The change image is a composite of NDVIs for the two dates, and
  • Interactively map change between two dates of imagery.

*Landsat represents the world’s longest continuously acquired collection of space-based moderate-resolution land remote sensing data.

Summary adapted from “Change Matters” by Kass Green, Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, April 2011.


Mt. St. Helens Volcano, Washington. Change pairs for 1990 to 2010

NASA Imagers (K-8)

imagersNASA Imagers is a multimedia teaching resource for teachers interested in using remotely sensed images to teach basic science. Imagers (Interactive Multimedia Adventures for Grade School Education Using Remote Sensing), is a “comprehensive Earth science education resource for the introduction of remote sensing and satellite imagery to children in grades K-8”, and has two multimedia web sites – The Adventures of Amelia the Pigeon, and The Adventures of Echo the Bat. As described by the authors, “Echo the Bat and Amelia the Pigeon encompass two major components: (1) an interactive web site with a multimedia adventure game; and (2) an activity guide with lesson plans and reproducible hands-on activities. The interactive web sites are meant to engage children, while the supplemental materials enable educators to introduce the concepts through hands-on activities in the classroom. Applying this methodology, parents and teachers are able to teach Earth science using remote sensing imagery via identification of land use, exploration of featured habitats, and changes in the environment.” A full description of Imagers is available here.

USGS Tracking Changes Over Time (5-8+)

usgs_tracking_changesTracking Change Over Time lesson plan is divided into three segments. Each segment aligns with one or more of the standards promoted by the Next Generation Science Standards – update to the the National Science Education Standards (NSES), the National Geographic Education Standards, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Benchmarks. The segments of the lesson plan describe the relevant standards’ learning goals and procedures and provide links to additional resources. The first part, “Getting Started”, provides an overview and links the lessons to national science standards.The second part, “Understanding Remote Sensing”, explains the basics of remote sensing at an age-appropriate level. The third part, “Using MultiSpec to Interpret Satellite Imagery”, describes and shows how to use MultiSpec, a free remote sensing program that has been used for many years around the world for both teaching and research.

USGS Earthshots (6-12)

usgs_earthshotsEarthshots is a set of remote sensing lessons developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The lessons, which feature a range of places and events from around the world, introduces remote sensing by showing images of environmental change as seen from orbiting satellites. Examples include urban areas, agricultural areas, deserts, forests, geological features, meteorological examples, water, and wildlife. Featuring a clickable map and many images of the same areas taken over several decades, many of which can be downloaded and used in a wide variety of teacher-developed lessons, the images demonstrate how our Earth is changing as a rest of various human and natural activities. Earthshots is an excellent teaching resource for classes in biology, environmental science, geography, and history. Included are links to the USGS’s Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (EROS) Image Gallery, another fantastic resource for teachers interested in cutting edge remote sensing science teaching materials.

NASA Earth Observatory (K-12+)

nasa_eath_observatoryThe mission of the NASA Earth Observatory is to share a wide range of educational resources with the public, including teachers and practicing scientists. Resources offered via the Observatory include images, maps, stories, and recent scientific findings in Earth systems science, including biology, ecology, and physical sciences such as meteorology and climate change. Topics featured in the Observatory include biology, heat, land, life, oceans, snow and ice, and human presence. Fact sheets are available on the carbon and water cycles, aerosols, global warming, sea ice, Earth’s energy budget, tropical deforestation, and a wealth of other interesting and important subjects. Scientists from several NASA research facilities, such as Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Ames Research Center, NASA Langley Research Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Goddard Institute for Space Studies, contribute to the Observatory.

The following section describes an Earth observation activity in which the remote sensing is close range. The initial training is easily accomplished as a class field activity. Longer term commitment to the program objectives would be considered a “Citizen Science” initiative. Citizen Science encourages public involvement in some aspects of Earth science research and is especially useful when protocols are established for careful data collection.

Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library (Citizen Science)

Photo ExampleThe Earth Observation and Modeling Facility (EOMF) at the University of Oklahoma has developed the Global Geo-Referenced Field Photo Library , which includes a crowd-sourcing and citizen science toolkit for participants (1) to share, visualize, and analyze geo-referenced photos from various locations around the world, and (2) to download, visualize and analyze time-series satellite observations since 2000 for specific landscapes of interest. EOMF has also developed an easily-used smartphone app “Field Photo” for anyone to properly collect, upload, and share geo-referenced photos of the landscape. An IOS version (Android version is in the works) of the “Field Photo” app is freely available to the public.
Please join thousands of people to share your field photos, show your footprint of travel, and support monitoring of our planet Earth. For additional explanation of this activity, view this presentation or have fun with this animated demonstration video.