Lab 2: Drawing Local Connections


Now that you've visited your local study site, let's take a closer look at how elements of each of the four main components of the Earth system interact with one another. For example, how does a tree (an element of the biosphere) interact with the soil in which its roots grow (an element of the pedosphere) or with the rain (an element of the atmosphere)? Energy and matter are continuously transferred among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, pedosphere, and biosphere. By studying the flow of energy and matter at your local study site, you will begin to build an understanding of how the four components of the Earth system work together to create and maintain Earth's unique climate. In this lab, you will use observations from your visit to your local study site to draw interconnections on a photograph and then to make a diagram of the flow of energy and matter between components of the Earth system at your local study site.

After completing this investigation, you should be able to:
  • analyze a photograph of your local study site with respect to Earth systems;
  • annotate interconnections among components of the Earth system on a photograph;
  • translate your analysis of your study site into a diagram of energy and matter flow among components of the Earth system; and
  • interpret and evaluate diagrams of your local study site.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.
Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.