Middle School (6-8)

Digital Offerings

learn science, develop empathy, write a story

Pandemic Pathways

Pandemic Pathways is an interactive storytelling project that offers a chance to...

  • Learn more about the Covid-19 virus and its impacts
  • Explore how many different people are experiencing the pandemic
  • Craft a story about a character that is working to stay safe and enjoy life during the Covid-19 pandemic

map of the United States

What's Going on in This Graph? - Nebraska Edition

What's Going on in This Graph - the Nebraska Edition offers a new post each month featuring a data visualization related to topics of particular interest to Nebraska. Some posts will feature a graph, map, or chart from University of Nebraska faculty or graduate student researchers. These visualizations act as rich texts which can be used as a focal point for students' sense-making discussions.

Pivotal logo

Pivotal: Agricultural Ecosystems

Pivotal is a website specially created by Nebraska Educational Telecommunications to gather together its best and freshest content about the industry, science, and human spirit sustaining Nebraska’s food, water, and agriculture.

You’ll find resources for learners, educators, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of today’s farming and resource management in Nebraska.

Pivotal offers rich articles, insightful videos, interesting interactions, clear graphics, useful maps, workable lesson plans, vocabulary links, and additional resources in a simple-to-navigate structure that will help you drill down to the right level of detail for your needs.

You’ll get the big picture of Nebraska’s ecosystems and the forces that shape them. You’ll meet the people in the field and see how they use precision techniques and the latest technology to face challenges that date back to the time of the first hunter-gatherers.

Modern farming requires the interplay of science and stewardship to meet the needs of the human population without disrupting the delicate balances that will sustain Nebraska’s natural treasures for generations to come.

NET continues to curate Pivotal’s content to provide an up-to-date portrait of the evolving state of Nebraska’s food, water, and agriculture in a changing, challenging world.

loopy gif

Playing with Systems

It is a complex and messy world out there.

But sometimes having the right tool can make exploring this complexity kind of fun.

Loopy is a tool for thinking in systems created by Nicky Case. It allows you to quickly sketch system components (as circles) and their interactions (as arrows) and press play to simulate how a system behaves. In no time at all, you will be experimenting with negative and positive feedback loops, testing predictions, and, most importantly, having fun playing with your system creations.

Individual Lessons

Irrigation science experiment using cups and straws

Increasing Production with Precision Agriculture

In this hands-on lesson, students will learn how precision agriculture uses geographic information systems (GIS) to help farmers and manufacturers make smart, efficient, and responsible decisions about how and when they plant, grow, irrigate, harvest, and transport crops. Students will use an engineering design process to construct a simple variable rate irrigation design solution. Students will perform calculations to determine water use efficiency of a variable rate irrigation system and to provide evidence for its purpose in agricultural production.


Apple Genetics

In this standards-aligned, 5-E life science lesson plan, students will learn about apple production. Students will learn where apples are grown, how apples are grown, varieties of apples, and health benefits of eating apples. Students will explore crossbreeding with a hands-on activity in which they will observe three apples. Students will record characteristics they notice in different varieties of apples. Students will use Punnett squares to predict the results of genetic crosses and determine the genotypes and phenotypes of apples in a particular cross.

growth stand

Grow Stand Math

In this standards-aligned, 5-E lesson, students will learn about artificial lighting and its use in agricultural production, they will use engineering design principles and mathematics to design a model using plastic straws and tape and build a grow light stand out of PVC piping and connectors.