Mission Geography 

What happens when NASA and geographers collaborate? 

They create Mission Geography!

Mission Geography is a project to use satellite images from NASA to teach geography, math, and science.  A set of curricular materials for K-12 has been developed that uses color and black-and-white imagery from space to engage students in active, hands-on inquiry about the earth.  Lessons focus on the development of key grade-level-appropriate geography skills, and use math, science, and language arts skills to develop an understanding of environment-society relations and earth science.  All lessons are aligned with national and Vermont standards in social studies, science, and language arts.


The curricular materials, including all the satellite imagery, are available on CD or are downloadable from the Mission Geography website: www.missiongeography.

org.  The satellite images are from all around the world, and together with the curricular materials, make for a rich and deep experience as you use them.


Two VGA Teacher Consultants have been involved for several years with Mission Geography. Jack Adams of Rutland Intermediate School was involved in the planning/testing of the product.  And Jack Adams and Mary Cassarino, also of Rutland Intermediate School, have been trained to teach other teachers about using the product. If you would like to have Jack and Mary run a workshop for your school, contact them at mcassarino@rutlandhs.k12.vt.us or jadams@rutlandhs.k12.vt.us.


Visit www.missiongeography.org.





“One of the best I’ve seen for teacher usability and versatility.” 

 Mary Cassarino,

Rutland Intermediate School








Modules and Lessons

Each module has a theme that includes several investigations or lessons. Lessons may be done in sequence, but most can also stand alone. Each lesson may include student questions, worksheets, overheads, aerial photos and satellite images (many in color), educator background, and/or answer keys.  Each module is also available in a student-only version that does not include answers or educator materials.  All modules are downloadable from the Mission Geography website as a pdf file (www.missiongeography.org).


Grades K-4

Module 1. Exploring our planet from above

1: Does What You See Depend on Where You Are?

2: Comparing Maps and Images From Space

3: What Can Satellites Tell Us About Earth?

4: How Does Color Help Us Understand Images From Space?




Text Box: About Lesson 1 in Module 1:
 “Every kid should have this lesson before they leave school!”
Mary Cassarino
Rutland Intermediate School












Module 2. Water, water almost everywhere

1: Water, Water Almost Everywhere

2: How Can We Tell If Other Planets Have Water?

3: Water Bodies, Where Are They?

4: How Do Water Bodies Change Over Time?


Module 3. Where on Earth do humans live?

1. What Are Physical and Human Made Features?

2. What Is There To See From Sea to Shining Sea?

3. How Do Images Help Us Learn About Our Planet?

4. Where Are the Cities?


Module 4. Paths – Linkages between and among physical and human elements of the Earth

1. Paths: What Are They and Who Makes Them?

2. How Do Paths Look From Different Perspectives?

3. Paths: Usual or Unusual?

4. How Do Disaster Paths Affect People’s Lives?



Grades 5-8

Module 1. Volcanoes – Local hazard, global issue?

1. How Close Is Safe: Buffer Zone Development

2. Sensing Volcanic Effects From Space

3. Tracking World Aerosol Hazards


Module 2. Mars and Earth – The quest for life

1. Where Do We Choose to Live and Why?

2. How Does Remote Sensing Help Us to Observe Human Footprints?

3. What Similar Physical Processes Occur on Both Earth and Mars?

4. Is Life on Mars Possible and Could Humans Establish Settlements There?


Module 3. Human footprints on Earth as seen by NASA scientists

1. Let’s Go To the Mall?

2. What’s Hot at the Mall?

3. Why is the City Hot?

4. Where in the World Are Major Environmental Changes?


Module 4. Remote sensing and eoarchaeology – How do remotely sensed images help us to understand past cultures?

1. How Does Remote Sensing Help Us Understand the Anasazi?

2. How Do Geo-Archaeologists Use Remote Sensing to Interpret Landscapes?

3. How Does Remote Sensing Search for the Geographies of the Past?


Grades 9-12

Module 1. What’s up with Earth’s water resources?

1. Chesapeake Bay: Resource Use or Abuse?

2. What is happening to the Aral Sea?

3. The Nile: Resource Then, Resource Now?

4. Why is Snow Important in the Southwestern United States?


Module 2. Where will your next meal come from?  Inquiries about food, people, and environment.

1. Is There a Future for Subsistence Agriculture?

2. What is Industrial Agriculture?

3. Who Will Feed the World?


Module 3. What are the causes and consequences of climate change?

1. What Are the Causes and Effects of ENSO?

2. The Loss of Stratospheric Ozone: Where Are People at Risk?

3. Are We Warming Earth?