Teachers' resources

Teach physical science using the environment

When we think of sciences that relate to the environment, we often focus on life sciences. But that?s only part of the picture. The physical sciences--physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, meteorology, and so on--are important, too.

Consider, for example, that neither people nor protozoa nor anything else would exist without the sun, water, soil, rocks, nutrients, air, and other nonliving components of our environment. Our bodies follow the laws of physics and chemistry. Our habitats are shaped by gravity and weather. Even the moon and the stars figure in, turning the tide and guiding migrating animals. Many environmental issues, such as water pollution, energy conservation, and global climate change, are grounded in the physical sciences. Lessons on the environment provide a good opportunity to introduce physical science concepts. Similarly, many physical science lessons are an open door to environmental topics. Here are some ideas for blending the two:

Once you start looking, you?ll see many ways in which physical sciences fit into environmental education--and how environmental education can be incorporated into physical science lessons. Take advantage of opportunities to make the connection!

(From Winter 2002 Interconnections)