Earth System Science

Expand/Collapse Earth System Science

NOVA's Earth system science collection highlights important Earth processes normally invisible to the human eye. The standards-based media resources below expose the intricate web of forces that sustain life on Earth, allowing educators to explore the astonishing beauty and complexity of our dynamic planet with their students.

For additional classroom resources, visit NOVA Labs, a new digital platform where students can actively participate in the scientific process. NOVA Labs participants can take part in real-world investigations by visualizing, analyzing, and sharing the same data that scientists use. Try your hand at classifying clouds and investigating the role they play in severe tropical storms, research solar storms using images from NASA telescopes, or explore ways to make the most of renewable energy sources and use real data to design your own virtual power systems.

  • Water Vapor Fuels Hurricanes

    This video from NOVA: "Earth From Space" features visualizations that show how oceans and sunlight interact to produce hurricanes.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Global Ocean Circulation

    This video from NOVA: "Earth From Space" describes global ocean circulation and its influence on climate.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Nutrients from Deep-Sea Vents

    This video from NOVA: “Earth From Space” explores the connection between hydrothermal vents and living organisms.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Lightning Produces Nitrates

    This video from NOVA: “Earth From Space” shows how lightning produces an essential nutrient for living things.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Monitoring Earth's Water Vapor

    This video from NOVA: “Earth From Space” explores the global circulation of water vapor and its impacts.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Plants Affect the Atmosphere

    This video from NOVA: “Earth From Space” looks at how plants, including those in the Amazon jungle, affect the chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere.

    Grades: 6-12
  • La Niña and Tornado Outbreaks

    This video from NOVA: "Deadliest Tornadoes" shows how La Niña’s cool ocean temperatures may influence tornado outbreaks.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Sandy and Climate Change

    This video from NOVA: “Inside the Megastorm” explores how global climate may have influenced Hurricane Sandy.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Ice-Core Record of Climate

    This video from NOVA: “Extreme Ice” explores how ice cores reveal a relationship between greenhouse gases and climate.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Volcanism at Yellowstone

    This video from NOVA: "Deadliest Volcanoes" explains why the Yellowstone supervolcano is located in the middle of a tectonic plate.

    Grades: 6-12