Explore Iowa's land, environments and environmental issues from a different perspective.



Innovative media and resources connecting your students with Iowa's environmental issues and topics.



Iowa-Based NGSS Aligned Storylines 

To support Iowa teachers as they continue their implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Iowa PBS has released two NGSS-aligned storylines. Each storyline is a coherent sequence of lessons anchored in engaging, question-provoking phenomena. Each lesson encourages students to use scientific practices to investigate, find answers and dig deeper into nature. 

Using high-quality media captured from around the state, these storylines immerse classrooms in environmental science stories and issues with lessons, activities and assessments aligned to the three dimensions of NGSS and to the middle school Iowa Science Standards

Iowa Plant and Animal Reproduction Strategies: Unit Overview

In this storyline, students investigate:

  • Why is there such variety of mussels in Iowa?
  • Why do living things look different from each other? 
  • Why do living things look the way they do? 

What students figure out:

  • All animals must reproduce as part of their life cycle.
  • Different animals exhibit different behaviors and structures. These strategies increase animals probabilities of successful reproduction.
  • There are different strategies that plants use to disperse their seeds and different plants use different disbursement methods/strategies to increase their chances of successful reproduction.


Iowa Geology: Unit Overview

In this storyline, students investigate:

  • What does Iowa’s surface look like?  
  • Why does Iowa have the surface landform features that it has?

What students figure out:

  • Glaciers can form different land features and many of those resulting features are geographically located within Iowa. 
  • The processes that created Iowa’s surface features took place over a long period of time, the most recent processes occurring about 11,000 years ago. 
  • The processes that created Iowa’s surface features are both similar and different to those processes that shaped the landscape of places around the world. Some of those processes took place over a long period of time and some happened very fast. 
  • Geological processes will continue to shape Iowa’s landscape in the future. 


The Iowa Land and Sky classroom resources would not be possible without the time and expertise of educators and organizations across the state.

The Iowa Land and Sky curriculum storylines were developed by:

  • Kyla Burns, Johnston High School, Johnston, Iowa
  • Elizabeth Herzmann, Southview Middle School, Ankeny Iowa
  • Holly Garcia, Riverside Junior-Senior High School, Riverside, Iowa

Consultation on the curriculum storylines was provided by:

  • Christopher Soldat, Grant Wood AEA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Peggy Christensen, Heartland AEA, Johnston, Iowa


Gilchrist Foundation