Creators: Dr. John Pratte and Dr. Matthew Laposata

This is the website for the Environmental Science Activities for the 21st Century (ESA21) Project. You will find activities here that seek to engage individuals about environmental issues through investigating their impact on the environment. The activities are textbook independent, which means that the background material needed to understand them is either provided in or as a link from the activity. The activities rely on a mixture of hands-on, field, and Internet based experiences to give you a deeper understanding of the issues.

The links below will allow you to access the activities in a variety of ways. The Activities link will take you to a listing of all of the activities that we have created. The Modules link has the activities grouped together around a particular topic, such as nuclear energy or wastewater, while the Pods link groups them around a much larger topic, such as energy or air. There are also links that go to ancillary products, such as instructor materials or assessments.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Dr. John Pratte at or Dr. Matthew Laposata at


Project Scope

The Environmental Science Activities for the 21st Century (ESA21) Project is a consortium of colleges and universities whose purpose is to create environmental science activities that allow students to investigate their impact on the environment. By studying their impact, students are able to see that they have a place in the ecosystem and are better able to understand how to reduce the harmful effect that they might have on it. The current consortium is made of faculty from Kennesaw State University (project headquarters), Bowling Green State University, Community College of Baltimore County, and the University of Southern Mississippi. This project is being funded under the auspices of NSF CCLI DUE-0088723 and 0231171 grants.

The activities developed for the project are grouped into multi-week modules based around major topics in environmental science. The modules are designed to supplement environmental science courses with existing laboratory components or provide course activities for traditional and online courses that lack a laboratory component. The activities hybridize online and wet-lab exercises to take advantage of both formats, and utilize existing, high-quality materials from the Internet, many of which are mirrored on the project web site to minimize accessibility issues. The modules emphasize lifestyle examination, ethical considerations and critical analysis of individual contributions to large-scale regional and global impacts. This allows students to see their place in the environment and how lifestyle changes can facilitate greater environmental sustainability. Some of the specific topics covered emphasize atmospheric science, climatology, mathematics, hydrology, human geography, geophysics, geochemistry, geology, mineralogy, soil science, ecology, carbon cycle, Newton's Second Law, water use, plate tectonics, ozone, earthquakes, fossil fuels, solar energy, wind energy, air pollution, acid rain, oil, coal and natural gas.

Each activity in the collection is comprised of an introduction that places the issue under discussion in context, links to additional sources of information on the Internet, and an experiment that uses hands-on, field, and/or Internet resources to investigate some aspect of the issue. Some of these activities are designed to provide background information on the topic, while others have the students measure some aspect of their life to see what their impact is. Each module comes with a capstone activity that allows the students to investigate what changes they can make in their life to either reduce their impact on the environment or their environment's impact on them.

Due to the differing writing and teaching styles of the different authors on the project, there are some slight differences in each activity's materials. However, these differences are extremely minor and should not affect the quality of the educational value of each activity. All of the activities have been reviewed by multiple scientists and educators to ensure that the materials are correct and usable. If users do find errors in these activities, or if users have suggestions to improve the activities, please contact either Matt Laposata or John Pratte with your comments.

Metadata generated by the project has the following copyright: Copyright (c) 2006 Kennesaw State University.

Metadata may used by DLESE (Digital Library for Earth System Education) at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). DLESE may modify, reformat, and redistribute metadata to function within DLESE systems and services.

The collection is expected to exist indefinitely as long as the materials are current and useful to the community. Materials and activities that become obsolete will be removed and cease to exist.


Instructor Resources

Due to the fact that these resources include materials of a sensitive nature (they would help students who wished to plagiarize or cheat), we cannot link them directly from this page. If you are an instructor that wishes to see them, though, please send us an e-mail from a verifiable address, and we would be happy to send you the materials that we have available.

John Pratte, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics
Dept. of Chemistry and Physics
P.O. Box 419
Arkansas State University
State University, AR 72467

Matthew Laposata, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Environmental Science
Dept. of Biology and Physics
Kennesaw State University
Mailbox 1202
1000 Chastain Rd.
Kennesaw, GA 30144



This project was made possible with the following contributions:

Activity Authors

  • Chris Fox - Atmosphere, Air Pollution, Acid Rain, Climate Change, Soil Composition, Age Structures, Home Chemicals, and Toxic Chemicals
  • Matt Laposata - Experimental Analysis, Statistics and Graphing, Measurement, Basic Skills Capstone A, Basic Skills Capstone B, Carbon Cycling, Personal Carbon Impacts, Carbon Cycle Capstone, Ground-level Ozone, Personal Ozone Impacts, Ozone Capstone, Ecological Footprint, Water Use, Drinking Water Treatment, Wastewater Treatment, Population Statistics, and Population Growth
  • John M. Pratte - Home Energy Audit, R-Factor of Various Materials, Home Analysis, Home Energy Capstone, Nuclear Decay, Nuclear Power Plants, Radiation Exposure, Nuclear Energy Capstone, Oil, Coal, Natural Gas, Fossil Fuel Capstone, Trees and Carbon, Carbon Cycle Capstone, Rock Identification, Soil Composition, Calories and Land, Stratospheric Ozone, Ozone Capstone, Hydroelectric Energy, Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Renewable Capstone, Ozone Depletion, Newton's Second Law of Motion, Efficiency, First Law of Thermodynamics, Human Energy Capstone, Earthquake Epicenter, Mineral Identification, Population Statistics, Age Structures, and Population Growth
  • Ken Rhinehart - Plate Speed, Plate Mechanics, Water Use, Drinking Water Treatment, and Wastewater Treatment, Population Statistics, Age Structures
  • Charlene Waggoner - Ecological Footprint

Site Design and Artwork

  • Gerry Kleine

Activity Reviews

  • Gerry Kleine, Trace Jordan, Adrienne Wootters, Ingrid Bartsch, and Lucy Eubanks.

Copyright and Fair Use

The materials found on this website were created and compiled by the Environmental Science Activity for the 21st Century (ESA21) project's authors for use by educational institutions and the general public. Copyrighted materials from sources other than the ESA21 authors are used with permission from the original creator. A good faith effort has been made to comply with U.S. copyright law.

While the ESA21 authors and Kennesaw State University retain copyright to their materials, permission is given to use them freely in electronic and/or print form at educational institutions for non-profit purposes, as long as source and author are indicated. Use of these materials or edited versions of these materials for profit without the written approval of the project authors and Kennesaw State University is strictly prohibited.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


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