FLEXE: From Local to Extreme Environments

FLEXE Curricular Materials

FLEXE Instructional units help middle and high school students learn key Earth system science concepts and develop critical scientific inquiry skills. Educational materials include classroom-based learning activities and on-line Forums featuring deep sea scientists and the environments they study.

Click on a unit to read descriptions of each activity and to download the lessons.


The Energy Unit – This seven-lesson unit helps students understand energy transfer between components of the Earth system. Students examine temperature variation in time and space, compare temperature patterns in local and extreme environments, and learn that energy transfer processes are similar even in very different places. The Energy Unit inlcudes two FLEXE Forums** and culminates with a guided inquiry investigation in which students test their own hypotheses regarding extreme locations within their local site. Instructions for scientific report writing and in-class peer review are also provided.


The Ecology Unit – Drawing on examples from deep sea hydrothermal vents and hydrocarbon seeps, this unit introduces secondary school students to concepts in ecological research and then asks students to apply their new knowledge to their local environment. The unit consists of eight activities including three FLEXE Forums**, and helps students develop skills in scientific observation and questioning, the starting points for any scientific investigation.


**Note: FLEXE Forums are designed to connect students with scientists around a particular dataset or event. Although FLEXE Forums are not "live" at this time, archived versions of these exchanges are available for your classroom use. Instructions for how to use the archive forum are included with each Forum.

From Local to Extreme

The FLEXE project was developed in collaboration with GLOBE with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE).

Use of the contents on this website is restricted to classroom use only. Duplication for any other purpose without written permission is not allowed.

FLEXE - Deepening Earth Systems Science Understanding with GLOBE.

This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number GEO-0627909. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. © CSATS, The Pennsylvania State University

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