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Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Using an Earth System Approach > Designing an Earth System Course > How to Design an ESS Course > ESS as a Foundation for Disciplinary Study > ESS Matrix: Geology Majors
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Earth System Science Course Design Matrix for Geology Majors

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For the course development purposes, we can order and describe classes of system interactions possible using a design matrix that identifies case examples that illustrate the relationships and interactions between two spheres. These case examples can be serve as the scaffolding for a thoroughly integrated Earth system course that seamlessly integrates development of critical skill sets, such as working with data, using models, quantitative skills, and experiences such as conducting investigations in the field.
Course outline examples:

How to Use this Table

The following table shows a matrix for designing an Earth System Course for Geology Majors. Matrices are a good way to think about designing an Earth System course in that it illuminates the relationships between typical topics in Earth science and the parts of the Earth system. This matrix is particularly helpful in looking at interactions between two subsystems. For more information on using course matrices, see Course Design Matrix

Earth System Science Course for Geology Majors
Primary causal mechanism located in
Acting on lithosphere Acting on atmosphere Acting on hydrosphere Acting on biosphere Acting on anthroposphere Acting on exoshpere
Paleomagnetism, Seafloor spreading Climate/Plate tectonics Ocean circulation/plate tectonics teaching with data: ocean circulation activity Deep sea vents, chemoautotrophs Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Hazards
  • earthquake demonstration activity
  • Teaching with models: Slinky and Waves Activity
  • Mathematical exercise using Stella: volcanic eruptions
  • Banded Iron Formation Coupled ocean atmosphere circulation[end td] Cambrian explosion Resources on evolution of life
    Ice Ages
    Biogeochemical cycles Coupled ocean-atm circulation
    Non-renewable resources Global Circulation Models, Greenhouse Effect Animations and web resources dealing with climate change [end td]
    Origins of Earth materials, impact craters Discussion Activities dealing with Geological timescale Milankovich Theory, orbital forcing of climate
  • Web resources for climate in Earth history
  • Teaching with data: solar energy laboratory
  • Orbital forcing of monsoons K-T Boundary Meteorite impacts Big Bang Theory

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