Survivor: Earth

Survivor: Earth


Principal Investigator (P.I.) ______

Team Number______

In a scientific study, the Principal Investigator, or the P.I., is responsible for overseeing the project, making sure it runs smoothly and that all data is collected. Your tasks are:

 Be sure your group completes all the tests and returns on time!

 Check that all equipment is returned to the classroom.

 Keep track of the points and total them at the end.

 Record answers to the summary questions

Data Category / Expert Name / Points
Navigator / NO POINTS

Total Points ______

Survivor: Earth Summary

Our area received a total of ______points.

Use the following scale to determine if your area has enough water for humans to survive.

0-29 / 30-69 Points / 70-100 Points
Uh oh…we didn’t find very much good quality freshwater here / Hmmm… there is freshwater but we need more tests to determine if there is enough / Woo hoo! There is enough good quality water for us to survive

We believe this area ______(does/does not) have enough water for people to live because:

Atmospheric tests of clouds and rainfall show

  • ______


  • ______

Geospheric tests of soil color, consistence, and moisture show

  • ______


  • ______

Biospheric observations of the living things show

  • ______

Hydrospheric tests of pH, temperature, and transparency show

  • ______


  • ______


Name of Meteorologist ______

Has there been precipitation or could there be in the next few days? As the atmosphere expert, you will assess moisture in the atmosphere. Precipitation comes from clouds. Water vapor in the atmosphere is invisible, but if the conditions (temperature and pressure) are right, it can condense into liquid or solid crystals. Clouds form where there are a large number of drops or crystals. Clouds are an indication of the temperature and water in the atmosphere, and they can help us forecast the weather.


1. Record the current air temperature (top number on the weather station).______°C

2. Record the current soil temperature (bottom number on the weather station). ______°C

There are no points for temperature readings. This measurement is for comparison only.


  1. Read the level of the water in the rain gauge; your eyes should be as close to the level of the water in the tube as possible.
  2. Record the rainfall to the nearest millimeter. If there is no water in the rain gauge record 0.0 mm. If there is less than 0.5mm, record T for trace. If some spills, record M or missing. Then, circle the points that relate to your rainfall measurement.

Rainfall: ______mm

0 / 1 – 5 mm / 6 – 10 mm / 10 – 20 mm /  20 mm
0 points / 2 points / 6 points / 8 points / 10 points

Remember to complete your Cloud Data on back of page!


  1. Observe the clouds in the sky – look in all directions, including directly overhead. Be careful not to look directly at the sun!
  2. Check all of the cloud type(s) you see. If there are no clouds, write “none visible.” DO NOT add all the points together; count only the clouds with the highest points.

 Cirrus: High wispy clouds; contain ice crystals
/  Cumulus: Low to middle white puffy clouds; contain water drops
/  Stratus: Low layered clouds cover most of the sky; contain water drops
/  Nimbostratus: Low layered clouds with rain falling

Low moisture High moisture
2 points / 4 points / 8 points / 10 points
Remember: DO NOT add all the points together; count only the clouds with the highest points.


Name of Soil Scientist ______

The geosphere is the zone of soil beneath our feet. Soil is an essential resource that is often taken for granted. Soil can affect every part of an ecosystem. Soil is also an integral part of the water cycle as it helps with infiltration, grows trees that transpire, and stores ground water.

Prepare the study area:

  1. Clear the leaves and debris from a small area (about 1 to 2-foot square) on the ground so the soil is exposed.
  2. Use the spoon to loosen and dig up a small amount of soil.

Soil Moisture

  1. Create a hole in the soil with the pencil.
  2. Insert the probe into the hole and gently press the tip into the soil.
  3. Record your data.

Soil Moisture: ______

0 / 1-3 / 4-7 / 7-10
0 points / 3 points / 6 points / 10 points

Soil Temperature

  1. Record the soil temperature reading from the atmosphere station.

Soil Temperature: ______C

There are no points for Soil Temperature. The data is for comparison only.

Use the soil you loosened with the spoon for the following tests.

Soil Consistence – Hold a chunk of dirt between your thumb and index finger. Use the following scale to rate the firmness of the soil.

 Loose – soil falls apart before you handle it /  Friable – chunk breaks with small amount of pressure /  Firm – chunk breaks with large amount of pressure /  Extremely Firm – can’t break chunk with your fingers
Easier for water to move More difficult for water to move
10 points / 8 points / 4 points / 0 points

Soil Color – Compare the soil color to the chart and record which color it is most close to.

 Black – lots of organic (living) material and more water /  Brown – some organic material and some water /  Reddish – contains minerals like iron /  Gray – light color means dryer soil
More water Less water
10 points / 6 points / 3 points / 0 points


Return your test area to the way it looked when you arrived by putting the soil and leaves back to their original locations.

Gather your equipment before you leave!


Name of Hydrologist ______

Investigating Earth’s surface waters is important because all living things rely on water to survive. Although 70% of Earth’s surface is covered with water, less than 1% is freshwater that we can consume. There are many different tests we can conduct to determine if the water in a stream, river, or lake is healthy.

Water Temperature

  1. Hold the thermometer at least 6 centimeters into the water for at least 2 minutes.
  1. Record the temperature in degrees Celsius.

Water Temperature: ______°C

Warmer water usually allows more organisms to live in the water, however if the water gets too warm, they can grow too much or die which pollutes the water. If the water gets too cold, organisms cannot survive.

0 – 9 ° C / 10 – 25 ° C /  25 ° C
5 points / 10 points / 5 points


  1. Dip the pH strip into the water and immediately pull it out.
  1. Compare the color on the strip to the color chart on the container and record your data. Do not the put used strip back into the container.

pH: ______

pH scale goes from 0 – 14 and measures the level of acid in the water which can determine if it’s safe to drink. Pure water has a pH of 7. The lower the number the more acidic; the higher the number the more basic or alkaline. A healthy stream is between 5.5 and 8.

 5 / 5 – 6 / 7 / 8 – 9 /  9
0 points / 8 points / 10 points / 6 points / 0 points


  1. Fill the jar with water.
  2. Look through the water to the black and white picture of the secchi disk taped to the bottom of the jar.
  3. Record how well you can see the secchi disk (transparency) based on the chart below.

Transparency refers to how far light can travel through the water. Water that is clearer is in better condition. That means less particles in the water and more light can travel through so plants can grow.

Very Transparent – can see the entire disk clearly /  Somewhat Transparent – the disk is somewhat blurry or faded from cloudy water /  Not Transparent – the disk is very blurry, almost all white, from very cloudy water
Good Quality Lower Quality
10 points / 7 points / 2 points


Gather all of your equipment before you leave!

Empty the water from the jar.

Keep the used pH strip out of the jar so it does not contaminate the others. Keep the unused pH strips dry and the container sealed tightly.


Name of Biologist ______

The biotic components of an ecosystem are those that are living or were living at one time. All life relies on water. Animals can move around to find their own water. Plants and trees are stationary organisms so they rely on the water that is available in their habitat. Land and habitat types are often named by the types of plants that grow in the area.

Land Cover

  1. Observe your study area.
  2. Follow the Land Cover Classification key to determine which kind of land cover dominates your area.
  3. On the chart below, circle your land cover and determine the water requirements and points for the biosphere.

General Water Requirements for Plants

High / Medium / Low / Very Low
Cultivated Agriculture
Cultivated Non-Agriculture
Wetland / Deciduous Forest
Deciduous Shrubland
Forb Community / Evergreen Forest
Evergreen Shrubland / Urban
Barren Land
Open Water
10 points / 7 points / 3 points / 1 point

Tree Moisture

  1. Remove cover of moisture meter and press power button.
  2. Insert the pins into the tree and record the percent moisture reading.
  3. Circle the points for this measurement.

Tree Moisture ______

30 – 40% Moisture / 20 – 29% Moisture / 10 – 19% Moisture / 0 – 9% Moisture
10 points / 7 points / 3 points / 0 points

Signs of Life

If you have extra time, look for other signs of life in your area and record them on the chart.

Tracks Scat Fur, feathers, bones Animal homes Nests
More signs: