Clues in Oceans and Ice

Clues about the Earth's past can be found in ice and deep beneath the ocean floor. Scientific deep ocean drilling has provided evidence about important geologic events such as the extinction of the dinosaurs, paleoclimate and plate tectonics. Our resources are all free to use thanks to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Appalachian State University. If you have questions about any of these resources, field trip opportunities or classroom visits please contact our Outreach Coordinator at If you would like to borrow fossil samples for your classroom, check out our Loaner Kits.  


  • "Down to the Core" Presentation- This Google Slides presentation serves as an Engager for the topic of Clues in Ice. It introduces students to the type of information scientists can gather from ice, why it is useful and how they collect it. 
  • "Down to the Core" Student Sheet- This student handout goes with the "Down to the Core" presentation above and can be used during the practical activity. Students answer questions on the sheet as they work through the lab and record their measurements.
  • "Down to the Core" Student Sheet using Vernier digital probes- This student handout serves as the one above, to ask students to stop and think during the lab activity, and also for data collection. The difference is that this handout incorporates the use of Vernier digital probes. 


"Ice core" models ready to be analyzed. 

Standards Alignment:

  • NCSES 8.E.2 Understand the history of Earth and its life forms based on evidence of change recorded in fossil records and landforms. 
    • 8.E.2.1 Infer the age of Earth and relative age of rocks and fossils from index fossils and ordering of rock layers (relative dating and radioactive dating). 
    • 8.E.2.2 Explain the use of fossils, ice cores, composition of sedimentary rocks, faults, and igneous rock formations found in rock layers as evidence of the history of the Earth and its changing life forms.

Other tips for teachers:

  • Want to borrow some cool core models, fossils, rocks, minerals or other physical materials? Check out the loaner kits we have available for free. 
  • If you are intested in visiting our geology facilities or having a guest speaker in your class, please contact us at