This book provides readers with an Earth system perspective and engages them in active learning and inquiry about their home planet. It contains readings, questions, and exercises that will cultivate a greater appreciation for the planet Earth and its inhabitants, and demonstrate how relevant Earth Science is to our lives and communities Recurring themes—interactions of spheres, scale, cycles, energy, humans and the earth system—are woven throughout the five chapters which cover an introduction to the earth system, geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and cosmosphere. For anyone who wants to explore the science of the Earth.
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The five modules contained in this workbook use an active learning approach to help illuminate for students of Earth Science the interconnectedness of Earth's spheres. Five recurring themes woven throughout the modules—interactions of spheres, scale, cycles, energy. and humans and the Earth system—provide the student with a coherent framework for investigating these multidisciplinary connections and interactions. A flexible, modular format allows instructors to pick and choose from a menu of assignments and diverse instructional approaches:
An Explorer's Guide to the Earth System is a student workbook designed to accompany and complement the text Earth Science by Tarbuck and Lutgens. The purpose of this workbook is to facilitate infusion of an Earth system approach into introductory Earth science courses and to engage students in active inquiry about their home planet.
To the Student
Earth is your home, most likely the only one you will ever have. Everyday you depend on its air, water, and mineral resources for your survival. Although you may never have thought about it, you are part of a complex system of interacting parts known as the Earth system. Because you are part of the biosphere (living things), other organisms in the biosphere, the atmosphere (air), the hydrosphere (water), and the geosphere (solid Earth) have an impact on you. The intent of this workbook is to supply readings, questions, and exercises to help you gain a greater appreciation for your home planet and its inhabitants. Hopefully, in the process, you'll acquire skills that you can apply elsewhere and develop a curiosity that will keep you attuned to Earth long after this course is over.
Perhaps you feel that you aren't good at science, or maybe you just plain dislike it. It may be that you wouldn't be taking an Earth science course at all if not for your school's science requirement. Try to keep an open mind. You might be surprised by how relevant Earth science is to your life and community. As you explore your own world through study of dynamic and timely topics such as volcanoes, global warming, solar storms, and the search for life beyond Earth, you may surprise yourself. You may get "hooked."
To the Instructor
Today's instructor is confronted with two critical changes in research and education that significantly influence the way that Earth science is taught: 1) The growing importance of a system paradigm that emphasizes interfaces between and interactions among land, water, air, and living things; and 2) Recommendations for improving science teaching through incorporation of active, inquiry-based instruction that lets students take responsibility for their learning and highlights the relevance of science to their lives. Because introductory Earth science courses typically cover a lot of information in a short period of time and most students who take them are non-science majors, it is a challenge to present both fundamental science content and employ a systems approach that assumes knowledge of Earth's subsystems and involves analysis of complex interactions among them. Furthermore, such classes are typically taught to large numbers of students in a lecture format that challenges the ability to engage students in active investigation as opposed to passive assimilation of course material. An Explorer's Guide to the Earth System is designed to help meet these challenges
An Explorer's Guide is divided into five independent modules: Introduction to the Earth System, Geosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, and Cosmosphere. References to the biosphere are woven throughout the workbook. Although this Explorer's Guide is closely aligned with and makes frequent reference to the text Earth Science by Tarbuck and Lutgens, it could be easily adapted for use with other texts by modifying specific references to page numbers to conform to the textbook you use.
Focus on Instructor Flexibility
In recognition of the great diversity of content, organization, and audience found in introductory Earth science courses, this workbook is designed for maximum flexibility of use. You may pick, and choose from a menu of exercises and instructional approaches, using only those that are best suited to your unique teaching style, course format, and student population. It is not necessary to use all of the modules or to assign all of the questions in any given module. The workbook includes two types of questions:
Each module incorporates the following features:
A Glossary and list of References are found at the back of An Explorer's Guide. The glossary provides students with definitions for terms that are not included in Earth Science. References are divided by level into introductory and advanced.
Why Incorporate Active Learning?
Ample research shows that students understand and retain concepts better when they process information though writing, discussion, or application than when they passively listen, take notes, and memorize for a test. Yet, there are significant barriers to the implementation of active learning. ,If you have a large class, you may lack the time to grade additional assignments. Introductory Earth science courses typically cover a multitude of topics in a single semester, so you may feel that you cannot afford to introduce new topics or set aside class time for students to work on questions. An Explorer's Guide to the Earth System is intended to help you introduce systems thinking and active learning to your course without taking an "all or nothing" approach. Some portions of the workbook can be used to punctuate a traditional lecture with short, ungraded exercises that require students to summarize, discuss, or apply what they have learned. Longer assignments can be completed out of class as homework or extra credit and may be graded or ungraded. If you have a large class, you may choose to discuss, but not grade, longer assignments that will then be used as the basis for exam questions. The accompanying Teaching Guide and Solutions Manual includes additional teaching tips, a matrix that correlates key concepts with suggested assignments, scoring rubrics to help streamline grading, and multiple-choice, true-false, and fill-in-the-blank questions designed to measure student understanding of selected questions from the workbook.
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