Earth & Climate

Find programs and mentors near you with CYSTEM (Check it out!)

Are You Into It?Earth & Climate graphic

If the changing planet is on your charts, exploring Earth & Climate should be on your radar.  Focus on issues ranging from geology to climate change and find out what everyone is talking about.

  • Develop an interest in and understanding of sciences related to our planet, its weather and climate.
  • Develop problem solving and logical reasoning skills.
  • Improve communication and teamwork skills by working the way scientists and engineers do ­- in teams.
  • Develop responsible attitudes about science and how science relates to the real world and people’s lives.
  • Gain experience in problem solving and decision-making using science process skills.
  • Develop knowledge and skills related to our planet, its weather and climate.

Here’s what you can do all year!

Starting Out Basic / Level 1

  • Use science to learn about our natural world, the earth and the atmosphere, and how they’re changing.
  • Explore what it means to be sustainable, from personal, agricultural, and wilderness sustainable practices to renewable energy and conservation technologies.
  • Be environmentally friendly: reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink.
  • Learn about energy cycles.
  • Find out about Iowa’s renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

Learning More Intermediate / Level 2

  • Use your investigation skills to learn about the earth, weather, and climate.
  • Find ways to make your life more sustainable and help others discover sustainable practices.
  • Make your home environmentally friendly with your family ~ set up a recycling station, use green products, be creative in reusing items you already have.
  • Study an environmental issue (acid rain, global climate change, soil erosion).

Expanding Horizons Advanced / Level 3

  • Be in the know with energy efficient products.
  • Monitor water quality in your community with the IOWATER program.
  • Monitor temperature and precipitation with the National Weather Service Cooperative Observer Program (NOAA)
  • Explore where the recycling from your community goes and how it is reused.
  • Become a citizen scientist! Contribute to the pool of scientific data by collecting local earth, weather, or climate data in your area or do your own analysis.
  • Make your own renewable energy using proven technologies or by designing your own system, and help your community implement sustainable practices.

Take It Further

Project Hot Sheet

Fair Exhibit Tip Sheets

Tip sheets are used by judges to evaluate your exhibit. Use them to help make the best presentation of your work. Choose a tip sheet based on your project's intended purpose.

If your project:

Exhibitor Fair Information Form (Word or editable pdf)

 Exhibit Evaluation Form (pdf)

Other Opportunities to Explore:

  • Attend a weather spotter training.
  • Investigate what your carbon footprint is.
  • Check out the many types of light bulbs and create a community campaign to use the most efficient bulb possible.
  • Attend Iowa 4-H Youth Conference and participate in workshops, motivational speakers and a community service project, bringing ideas back to your community.
  • Is it county fair time? Consider taking an exhibit, a piece of your project learning to the fair for judging and to show off what you’ve learned throughout the year. It might get selected to go to the Iowa State Fair.
  • Enter your science experiment or engineering design in a local science fair or the State Science + Technology Fair of Iowa.
  • Contact your local ISU Extension Office for other local workshops, activities, and events related to earth, weather, and climate sciences
  • Meet others interested in our planet, its weather, and its climate. Check out camps at the Iowa 4-H Center.
  • Interested in a career in geology, paleontology, weather, climate, or other planet related sciences? Schedule a visit with Iowa State University to explore those majors.

Step It Up

Pass it on! Now that you know how, share it with others. Here are ideas to get you started.


  • Create a blog about how kids can be environmentally friendly.
  • Do a presentation on where recycled items from your community go and how they are reused.
  • Prepare a working exhibit on what green technology is and what it isn’t.


  • Complete a Service-Learning project
  • Write a letter to the editor about an earth or climate issue that concerns you.
  • Participate in an Earth Day celebration.
  • Volunteer to help at a local recycling pick-up.


  • Develop a workshop on how adults can easily use green technology at home.
  • Create a recycling center at home and teach your family how to use it.
  • Organize a field trip to a local radio station to meet a meteorologist and learn what it takes to do their job.
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