EarthLabs: A Resource for Earth System Education

Wednesday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms
Poster Presentation Part of Teaching about Systems


Nick Haddad, TERC
Kathy Ellins, The University of Texas at Austin
Susan Lynds, University of Colorado at Boulder
Anne Gold, University of Colorado at Boulder
Reducing the effects of human activity on the environment, including climate, and coping with natural events such as hurricanes, landslides, and droughts all call for greater public understanding of how the Earth system works. For these reasons, effective Earth science education is essential to the future of our nation and our planet. The EarthLabs project was developed in response to this need.

EarthLabs ( is a portal for a growing collection of freely available Earth science curriculum units, all of which highlight the biogeochemical processes that regulate the cycling of matter and energy through Earth's spheres—the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, cryophere, and biosphere. Within each unit, resources for educators include science background information, equipment and materials lists, downloadable materials for printing, suggestions for the use of students notebooks and for leading class discussions, assessments, answer keys, and links to resources for extending student engagement beyond the content of the units. Resources for students, on a separate but linked web site, include text, videos, hands-on labs, data sets, interactive computer visualizations, and links to real-time scientific data. Originally conceived of as a resource for high school teachers and students, EarthLabs curriculum units have been used successfully across the range of levels between middle school and undergraduate courses.

This poster will provide an overview of the EarthLabs project with its student and educator web sites, the current set of nine curriculum units, and a special collection of climate resources recently developed for educators interested in the four newest units that address climate literacy. It will also highlight ways in which EarthLabs units have been used in the undergraduate classroom.