Skip to the content

Online Resources

Weekly Prompts

iNaturalist is a website and app where people like you record the living things they observe. There are nearly 40,000,000 observations worldwide! On the iNaturalist Observations page, explore the area near where you live. You can change the language at the bottom right corner of the page. Here are some questions to think about while exploring:

  • What do you think is the most interesting organism (plant, animal, mushroom, or other) recorded in Oregon?
  • What organisms are recorded near where you live?
  • Can you find any organisms that are observed in many parts of Oregon? Can you find any that are only observed near where you live but not in other areas?

Description:

Learn about how energy from the sun causes air masses to move, creating weather.  

This short video from the science program NOVA, explaining the basics of weather, is available in both english and spanish. 

This Crash Course Kids video will help you understand the difference between “weather” and “climate”. 

Learn facts about weather on earth, and play a game that has you race against an opponent to answer the most questions and move your ship around the world. 

Considerations: This game is best when you know some of the information, so you may want to read some questions/answers before playing the game. 

Often we only notice clouds when we’re experiencing weather or seeing a beautiful sunset, but clouds are important components of a complex global weather system. Watch this series of videos from PBS and answer the questions to learn more!

While watching The Making of A Cloud video, answer the following questions: 

  • What is the main ingredient of all clouds?
  • What are some sources of water vapor in the air?
  • How is air temperature related to the amount of water vapor that the air can hold?
  • What are some examples of condensation nuclei?
  • What happens when the water droplets or ice crystals of a cloud become too heavy to stay aloft?

While watching the Why So Many Cloud Types video answer the following questions:

  • What are the two main characteristics used in cloud classification?
  • Describe the four shape categories of clouds.
  • How does the height at which a cloud forms influence its composition?
  • How can a cloud provide information about winds or forecast the weather?
  • Describe how clouds and climate change are related.

Feeling like you know the different types of clouds? Try your hand at this cloud lab activity challenge to practice classifying clouds. Be sure to use the key in the bottom left of the window to help you in the process!

If you want to see how clouds are always in motion, check out this cloud video from the Cloud Appreciation Society. 

Description:

  • Watch these short videos to learn what a watershed is and how water flows within watersheds. 
  • Explore your watershed and familiarize yourself with different aspects of your watershed by using Google Maps. Use the icon at the bottom left to switch to satellite view. You can also use Google Earth for 3D exploration. 
    • See if you can find the following features of your creek or river:
      • The headwaters (or where a creek or river begins)
      • The mouth (or where the creek or river joins another body of water, such as another river or the ocean)
      • Other important aspects of your creek or river (such as: a dam, incoming streams, or large paved structures like a mall)
  • Check out this Conserve Water at Home activity from Project Learning Tree.
  • Find your watershed on the USGS website.

Description:

What's the difference between dirt and soil? So much! 

Watch this short video to learn more about the important role of soil: How Dirt Works

 Answer the following question while watching the accompanying video segments.

  • Why is soil a valuable resource? Video: Valuable Resource 
  • How do humans rely on soil? Video: Humans and Soil
  • Why is it important to monitor the health of soil? Video: Soil Health
  • What are some strategies used to improve and maintain the health of soil? Video: Strategies

Want to play a game testing your soil knowledge? Try The Great Plant Escape.

Or play a card game with the family? Try this Soil Card Game for some family fun.

What do all arthropods have in common? What are the different kinds of arthropods? Check out the Arthropods page from PBS to learn more.

Many arthropods are too small to observe without special equipment like microscopes, or they may be hard to find. Fortunately, we can learn about these arthropods online!

To see what kinds of wildlife people have been observing in their homes around the world, explore the Never Home Alone iNaturalist project.

Description:

Take some time to watch videos about pollinators, see pictures of them, and read about their lives and how important they are to ecosystems.  The linked videos and sites will give you good background on questions such as:

  • What are pollinators and what kinds are there?
  • How are pollinators important to flowering plants?
  • What are “solitary bees” and in particular, what is a Mason Bee?
  • How can we protect pollinators and create healthy habitats for them?

Links:

Meet the pollinators: Want to learn about pollinators by reading about different types of pollinators? Try this site from the University of California and select the tabs that interest you (beetles, moths, bees, etc). \

Pollinator videos:

The Beauty of Pollination

Intro to Solitary Bees

Mason Bees of Oregon

Mason Bee Life Cycle

Test Your Knowledge:

Want to see how much you can learn about pollinators?  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a “jeopardy” game about pollinators. You can follow the directions to play from the main topic board, and see if you know the answers to each question.  Or, you could go through all the questions and answers first, and then play the game to see how much you remember! 

Descriptions:

If you don't have any live flowers to dissect, check out this online flower dissection! Click on "Flower 1" on the left side of the page to get started with the virtual dissection.

Budburst tracks plant life events like getting flowers and leaves in the spring. Explore the maps to learn about plants found in Oregon. 

Considerations: Requires device with an internet connection.

Links:

Interactive Virtual Plant Dissection Lab

Budburst - Plants in Oregon

Descriptions:

Have you ever wondered about the environmental benefits provided by trees in your neighborhood? I-Tree is a web-based tool designed by the US Forest Service where you can input data from one or more trees growing in your community and calculate the benefits they provide. Watch this video to learn how to calculate the benefits of a tree near you. (instrucciones en español, página 13)

What Tree is That? Have other trees that you want to identify? Use What Tree is That? or Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest for some online identification tools to see if you can figure it out. 

Considerations: 

  • Requires device with an internet connection capable of streaming video and sound.

Links:

How to Calculate Tree Benefits (instrucciones en español, página 13)

What Tree is That?

Common Trees of the Pacific Northwest

Description:

Almost everyone loves games!  In Bird Song Hero, listen to birdsongs and match them to a visual “spectrogram” showing the different types of sounds in the song. It’s a really fun way to hone your listening skills and learn about birdsongs you might hear when you’re out exploring - or just sitting quietly inside! As an extra challenge, you could try drawing a spectrogram of a birdsong in your own journal. Once you finish Birdsong Hero, try some of the other games, or explore other parts of the Cornell Labs site like their live Bird Cams of birds of prey, songbirds, and water foul.  

Considerations: 

  • Requires device with an internet connection capable of streaming video and sound
  • Be sure adult guardians approve of online learning games

Links:

Bird Song Hero Game (challenge yourself to identify bird songs...and look for the robot!)

Bird Academy Play Lab (eight games & interactive tutorials)

Bird Cams (live cams on real birds nests!)

These activities are part of weekly activity sets that we are providing for parents and teachers supporting students while schools are closed. For more information, return to the Educational Resources for Stay Home, Save Lives page.

Questions?

Please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-4391 if you have any questions about the Outdoor School Program!