Land Use Explorers logoLand Use Explorers is a series of lessons and activities that help students, teachers, and citizens of all ages to better understand and think critically about what we use our lands for and what we value most about them.


The social, economic, and environmental benefits provided by our lands are innumerable--from food and energy production, to watersheds and wildlife habitats. But there are also trade-offs associated with any land use. 


"Land Use Explorers" focuses on topics that are key to understanding these benefits and trade-offs:

  • Land Use
  • Energy
  • Climate Change
  • Food Systems
  • Water
  • Agriculture and Soil
  • Biodiversity

Kits and activity guides for students and educators

The program consists of two tracks

Inquiry questions for students to consider

These are good questions before beginning the Land Use Explorers activities OR to be used independently. They also work with adults.

  1. What is something you love about your community? (This could be anything -- family, home, pets, mountains, etc.)
  2. What is something special about the place where you live on Earth? (Something related to the physical PLACE, such as mountains, a park, river, etc. This answer may be the same as #1)
  3. What is a challenge faced by your community?
    • The follow-up discussion to this final question could then prompt students to think about how they as young people might be able to solve this challenge with scientific information such as maps, aerial photographs or other data. For example, how could we as kids help solve the challenge of homelessness or wildfires? What information would we need? 

The research

To learn more about the research behind this outreach and education program, visit

For questions about this project, contact the MSU Science Math Resource Center at [email protected]

This project was supported by the National Science Foundation under the EPSCoR Track II Cooperative Agreement No. OIA-1632810. This project is also supported in part by NSF EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement OIA-1757351 and the South Dakota Discovery Center. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies