Digital Earth Watch (DEW) brings together biology, physics, chemistry, technology, art, engineering, and math in a project that supports environmental science field studies in middle schools, high schools, self-guided education, and citizen science. This site has free software, ideas for activities and challenge questions. Interestingly, with
satellite imagery and computer processing, a number of the "field"
studies may be conducted indoors.
All activities include learning how to observe natural phenomena and
looking for cause and effect relationships. When dealing with
interconnected Earth systems, one cannot run controlled experiments and
get realistic results, although some controlled experiments do help
support one's understanding of certain processes within an environmental
DEW is a product of a NASA education grant project: Measuring Vegetation Health.
Plants are like "green canaries:"
if they die, other organisms will likely follow. By measuring the
health of plants, we measure the environmental conditions that
affect all nearby organisms, including humans. We monitor plant health by measuring proportions of
light reflected from leaves, and with our understanding
of plant behavior and physiology we
assess the quality of the local environment.
Plants are indicators of changing environmental conditions, causing them to respond to those factors. That response can be monitored to determine environmental conditions. Human and natural processes influence environmental conditions.