Estuary-Net Project

Estuary-Net is an excellent Web site for teachers to use guided inquiry learning activities in their classroom. Estuary-Net was developed by the National Estuarine Research Reserve System in response to water quality issues arising in coastal areas. This project strives to develop collaborations among high schools, community volunteer water quality monitoring groups, local officials, state Coastal Zone Management (CZM) programs, and National Estuarine Research Reserves (NERRS) to solve non-point source pollution problems in estuaries and their watersheds. This Web site provides comprehensive information about characteristics of estuaries, estuarine ecology, water quality monitoring; and quality assurance, quality control, and standard operating procedures of a water quality monitoring program.

This web site contains a database of monitoring data from National Estuarine Research Reserve sites and volunteer sites. Data includes water temperature, water level, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and stream flow. Biological variables and bioassessment techniques are also included in the dataset. These include water quality, habitat, benthic macroinvertebrates, intertidal organisms, aquatic vegetation, chlorophyll/plankton, and fecal coliform bacteria. In addition to the datasets, the secondary school volunteer sites contain metadata. The metadata includes research descriptors, entry verification, experimental design, research methods, site location and character, data collection period, associated researchers and projects, data table descriptors, and remarks.

This web site provides many classroom activities from the Estuary-Net curriculum. The classroom activities are divided into three levels in order to provide various degrees of involvement in the subject, ranging from lab experiments to single field experiences to long-term monitoring. The benefit of this scaffolding is that schools that do not have easy access to watershed areas can still participate in the Estuary-Net activities by engaging in hands-on/minds-on laboratory activities. All Estuary-Net activities contain objectives, assessments, time needed, materials, procedures,and hypotheses.

Level I activities do not include a field sampling component, but provide classes with a hands-on, inquiry experience that explore the habitat variables tested in later levels. Students use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret water quality data in their classroom. In addition, these variables are investigated using current data available at this web site. In these activities, students use telecommunications for collaborative problem-solving. Students relate their data to problems that exist in their local watershed.

Level II activities focus on the development of a watershed map and a water sampling plan. These activities provide a format for conducting a reconnaissance of the area and a stream survey. Students study the relationship between upstream influences in their watershed and their watershed's estuary. They identify the information needed and the resources necessary to address a potential watershed question. Students use USGS topographic maps to create a watershed map of their local area which identifies watershed and access points to those water sheds. They also create mylar overlays of their local map showing soil type, plant communities, and other land use categories. Classes are expected to make one reconnaissance field trip and at least one sampling field trip during this unit. Students will survey the biota of the water course and conduct sampling for macroinvertebrates and chlorophyll a or another appropriate indicator species following the design of their approved water sampling plan. Students identify the species collected and analyze their samples for species diversity and population characteristics.

Level III activities focus on improving the quality of data gathered for a class's water quality monitoring program. By this level, classes have conducted their initial sampling and, along with with their other regional partners, identified a condition that warrants further study in their watershed. Students learn about the different components of a Quality Assurance Project Plan. They work in groups to write the proposed expansions to their sampling plan and identify any resources from the community that they may need prior to implementing the plan. Students learn how action plans using "Best Management Practices" and other pollution control measures support solutions to their possible watershed problem.

Adapting to a Changing Sea - Homepage

The JASON VII expedition was conducted in 1996. This JASON Project investigated marine life and living conditions, including habitats and food sources at the edge of the sea. During JASON VII, researchers, students, and teachers investigated several interconnected shallow water habitats in Southern Florida, including the Everglades, Florida Bay, Florida Keys, and relic reefs. The JASON VII Homepage contains many good learning activities that can be easily incorporated into K-12 science curricula.

The "Shark Tracking Activity" contains a dataset of shark movement observed by the JASON research team. Students can use this dataset activity to produce maps and graphs showing the sharks' movement. Students can then analyze their graphs or maps to look for patterns in the sharks' movements which might indicate if they have a preferred territory.

In "Exploring the Steel Reef," students can view and magnify sonar images of a ship wreck.

The "Fish Survey Data" of the expedition contains an extensive dataset that can be analyzed by students to examine relationships among habitat preferences of different organisms.

The "Aquatic Field Investigation" contains many hands on activities that can be used in the K-12 classroom curricula which focus on how to measure the biotic and abiotic (living and nonliving) characteristics of an aquatic site to gain an understanding of how the habitat operates. Many different materials and methods sheets are provided for teachers to use these activities with their students.

Other activities at the Jason Project VII web site have students examine coral growth patterns and design visual shark targets.

Detailed descriptions of the entire expedition is provided online, including an in depth look at the equipment used by the research team.

Oceans Instructional Materials - Athena Project

The Athena Project has put together several wonderful interactive, guided inquiry learning activities that take advantage of data placed on the World Wide Web. The project is divided into four main categories- Oceans, Earth, Weather, and Space.

In "Tracking Drifter Buoys", students "experience" how oceanographers use devices called drifter buoys to track ocean currents. Students are presented with detailed information to learn how drifter buoys measure ocean currents. Students also learn about satellite imagery of ocean topography. Students are presented with a dataset of information to plot on a map. After this practice activity, students must use information from spreadsheet files to locate the Gulf Stream. Science journal activities are also included. This activity is appropriate for both middle and high school students.

"Ocean Color" is an activity that can be used in any K-12 science classroom. This activity examines how scientists interpret satellite imagery. Students create a map which identifies different productivity levels in the ocean and identify areas of continental vegetation.

“Today's Earthquake Activity Around the World” is an activity which prepares students to predict where future earthquakes will occur. Students use a map to track earthquakes for an extended period of time and then look for corresponding plate boundaries. Using this information they are better equipped to predict upcoming quakes.


WhaleNet is a collaborative project between the biology departments at Wheelock College and Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. It is an educational site devoted to whales, whale research, the marine habitat, and environmental studies.

Students are encouraged to use telecommunications tools to ask researchers questions on-line in the "Ask a scientist" area.

The Satellite Tagging Observation Program (STOP) electronically tracks whales to study their movements and migrations. STOP includes data and observations including satellite tracking maps. Teachers are able to download a variety of tracking maps for use in their classrooms. Curricular lesson plans are included to guide the study of the range of whale movement during their migrations.

This web site also contains classroom activities in which students study the relationships between whales and their marine habitat.

At the WhaleNet web site, students can read logs of oceanographic research vessels. These logs can be used in a variety of activities with K-12 students including graphing a ship's position by plotting coordinate data on a map, analyzing meteorological data such as wind speed, air temperature, water temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, and classifying the plants and animals encountered by the research vessels on their voyages.

WhaleNet also contains an area of curricular activities which provide ideas on how to use the WhaleNet data and information for a variety of topics including navigation, water testing, plankton tow and analysis, data collection, photo identification of whales, bathymetry, topographic models of the ocean bottom, marine pollution, and data analyses.

Collaboration between K-12 classrooms worldwide is encouraged with an on-line listserv at the WhaleNet web site.

This web site also contains a multimedia collection of whale movies and images that can be used by teachers as visual resources in their science classrooms.

The Ocean Drilling Program
The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) consists of research into the history of the ocean basins and the nature of the crust beneath the ocean floor. This web site can be used in an upper level secondary education science classroom to learn about oceanographic science processes. Students can learn about laboratory equipment and the types of research which are conducted on board the research vessels. Students can access online data from a database containing downhole measurements taken from core samples. Students can analyze the data to look for patterns in the physical properties, paleomagnetism, and chemistry of the core samples. This web sites provides excellent maps of the drilling sites. Science teachers can also use the resources at this web site for mapping activities with their students.


This web site is the homepage of the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite. Teachers and students can learn how TOPEX/Poseidon maps ocean surface topography, how oceanographers use ocean topography to monitor ocean currents, and how oceanographers use data to compute the ocean's heat budget. Many of the resources at this web site can be incorporated into secondary science curricula.

The TOPEX/Poseidon science images highlight many of the scientific discoveries of the TOPEX/Poseidon mission. Teachers can use the images to illustrate different ocean characteristics to their students.

The "near real time data" section includes data sets of sea surface heights, ocean wind, significant wave heights, and map coordinates. Science teachers can use this data for data analysis activities and mapping activities with their students.

The "image library" includes graphics of dynamic ocean topography, sea surface variability, significant wave height, wind speed, and precipitable water vapor.

The Educational Resources section contains an online tutorial that presents ideas on how to incorporate the TOPEX/Poseidon data on the Internet into the classroom. This tutorial can be used effectively as a stand alone tutorial for secondary students in a networked computer lab. Many sections of the tutorial contain images which can be used by teachers as presentation materials to explain oceanographic science processes and concepts.

El Niño Theme Page

This web site contains a wealth of information about El Niño. The material at this web site is appropriate for students in grades 10-12. Graphic images and animations facilitate learning about El Niño. Extensive information about the impacts of El Niño and benefits of El Niño prediction are presented with many web links to recent graphic images on the Internet. Teachers and students can access the latest El Niño forecasts and measurements which include global sea surface temperature, equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature, and tropical Pacific buoy data. These datasets can be used in the classroom for graphing and data analysis activities.

Roadkill Project

The Roadkill Project is designed to involve students and teachers with scientific monitoring and telecommunications and increase participant awareness of motor vehicle hazards for wildlife. This site is guaranteed to bring about stimulating discussion in your classroom.

The GLOBE Program - Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) is a worldwide network of students, teachers, and scientists working together to study and understand the global environment. Students conduct an array of measurements and observations at their schools and share their data via the Internet with other students and scientists around the world to detail an environmental picture of the globe. An excellent way for your students to contribute data to a unique ecology project on the Internet.

International Wolf Center

The International Wolf Center is a great resource to learn about wolves. A highlight of this site is the Telemetry Dataset. Great graphics of wolves can be accessed at this site. A great educational resource for both math and science.

National Space Science Data Center

This NASA site has lots of great information that incorporates biological content into the space sciences. NSSDC provides discipline-specific pages which summarize available resources at NSSDC for each discipline it supports. Disciplines currently supported include Space Physics, Solar Physics, Astrophysics, Planetary Science, and Earth Science.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation

This site provides information about ongoing projects by the Reef Environmental Education Foundation. Contents include reef fish pictures, distinctive features, fish descriptions, description of the fish survey, survey data, and how to interpret the data. The survey data would be useful for designing an activity based on reading a table or determining fish distribution. Information is also provided about the organization's training programs, collecting sites, how to become a member, and the "REEF" publication. Also included is a list of other links related to marine biology. This site would interest elementary level students interested in learning about different types of marine fish and also high school students interested in population and distribution studies. It will be necessary to have a description of the number code in hand when interpreting the survey data.

Mullard Space Science Lab

This web site is great for grades 9-12 teachers and students from the University College London! Will you have a career day at your school? If so, this is a great site to visit about a career in space. This web site features: astro-physics, solar physics, plasma physics, climate physics, and detector physics.

National Geophysical Data Center

This Web site is great resource for any earth science classroom. Data and information is available on several different science topics including land, marine, satellite, snow and ice, and solar-terrestrial. The site also contains several educational resources and materials which teachers can download. Lastly, a feature news section provides information related to the newest monitoring data.

Neuse River Estuary MODeling and MONitoring (MODMON) Project

The Neuse River Estuary MODeling and MONitoring project is the collaborative effort of a number of scientists from several institutions, government agencies and private industries. The MODeling phase of the project involves both short and long-term modeling of the Neuse River Estuary based on data collected during the MONitoring phase. The MONitoring phase of the project is a massive undertaking of fisheries, sedimentary, water quality, and hydrographic sampling from New Bern to the mouth of the Neuse River.

CHL-FRF Duck Research Facility

Visit the Duck Research Facility and take a virtual tour of the facility, meet the staff, learn about the facility's research, access its most recent measurements, take a look from its tower, and download archived data, graphs, and reports.

Earthquake Information from the USGS

This site contains a wealth of information related to earthquakes. Access real-time maps of recent earthquakes, general earthquake information, information concerning hazards and preparedness, current research activities and results in seismology, special topics of interest related to earthquakes, and links to other earthquake Web sites.

Students as Scientists - Pollution Prevention Through Education
This site allows students to utilize a data visualization tool to view and manipulate raw data that has been collected by university scientists in the Lower Cape Fear River Program. The tool allows students to track five years of data with fourteen different water parameters.


nAngle is an on-line tool that calculates solar angles and related information for a given location, date, and time. This on-line tool is regularly updated to add features, improve the accuracy of the calculations, and include information requested by users. While it was intended to serve the needs of the solar energy field, it's been used extensively by architects, photographers, artists, hobbyists, and others. A great resource for an earth science classroom.

Astronomical Applications Data Services

This site is excellent for obtaining data related to sunrise, sunset, moonrise, moonset, phases of the moon, eclipes, positions of the sun and moon, data for solar system bodies, dates, and celestial navigation.

Historical Streamflow

This site provides access to water-resources data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Online access to this data is organized around the categories of real-time data, site information, surface water, ground water, and water quality.

National Geospatial Data Clearinghouse, USGS Mode

This site
provides a pathway to find information about geospatial or spatially referenced data available from USGS. Under the geographic section, you will find links to topographic maps, orthophoto quadrangles, geographic names, satellite imagery and photo archives, and many other mapping products in digital and paper forms. Under the biology section, you will find links to high-quality biological databases, information products, and analytical tools maintained by The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) and other contributors in government agencies, academic institutions, non-government organizations, and private industry. Under the geology section, the Geoscience Data Catalog contains metadata on more than 1,100 earth science data products produced by USGS. Lastly, under the water section you will find hydrologic unit maps. The water section also contains links to more than 150 other data sets on topics such as aquifer characteristics, evapotransporation, climate, and agricultural chemical usage.

Real-Time Water Data

This site allows you to access real-time water data. Data on the site are typically recorded at 15-60 minute intervals, stored onsite, and then transmitted to USGS offices every 1 to 4 hours.

Water Use Data

This site allows you to access information concerning water use in the United States over the past fifty years (1950-2000). Reports concerning water use are available based on time period and water resource region.