InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Exploring Geoscience Methods
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Sep 18, 2014

Summary

This module gives pre-service secondary science teachers the opportunity to use and reflect on geoscientific thinking. The module begins with an exploration of how geoscience methods are similar to and different from the stereotypical experimental scientific method. Then, students use methods of geoscience (e.g., systems thinking, multiple converging lines of evidence, developing spatial and temporal frameworks) in a data-rich, interdisciplinary exploration of the human impacts of global climate change. They will use spatial and temporal data, data visualizations and Google Earth to address the scientific question "To what extent are coastal communities at risk due to climate change?" and the socio-scientific issue "To what extent should we build or re-build coastal communities?" Finally, pre-service teachers explore high-quality, freely available curricular resources to develop a standards-based, interdisciplinary lesson that embeds geoscientific thinking and content as part of biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics or social science instruction. Pre-service teachers further explore societal impacts in the lessons that they develop. The module can be taught in 6-12 hours of class time, plus substantial homework.

Strengths of the Module

Students who learn with this module will:
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the process of science and how to foster that understanding in their students
  • Engage in a data-rich activity that is well-aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • Make an argument about the development of coastal communities based on evidence from sea level rise and tropical storm intensity
  • Become familiar with high-quality, online resources for teaching Earth science
In working with data, students will:
  • Use Google Earth to measure distances, elevation, and areas
  • Graph numerical data in Excel, and analyze the graphs for trends
  • Use climate forecast models to make predictions

NGSS Logo Very Small

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. At the top of each page, you can click on the NGSS logo to see the specific connections. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more about the process of alignment and how to use InTeGrate materials to implement the NGSS.

NGSS in this Module

The purpose of this module is to introduce pre-service secondary science teachers to the methods of geoscience thinking, engage them in such methods and provide an opportunity to gather curricular resources for future teaching practice. After reading and evaluating informational articles about the methods of geoscience, students engage in an authentic and data-rich, lab-based activity that uses multiple digital tools to analyze and interpret data, address a real-world problem, make hypotheses, support claims and construct arguments from evidence. The final unit engages students in developing a full lesson plan based on the resource that emphasizes the methods of geoscience.

Supported Next Generation Science Standards:

Performance expectation: HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
Science and engineering practices: Analyzing and interpreting data
Cross-cutting concepts: Systems and system models; stability and change
Disciplinary core ideas: ESS2.D Weather and climate, ESS3.D Global climate change
Connections to nature of science: Scientific investigations use a variety of methods

Supported Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Big idea 8: Natural hazards pose risks to humans.

Supported Essential Principles of Climate Science:

  • Essential principle 7: Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

Supported community developed, nationally-recognized Ocean Science Literacy Principles:

  • Essential Principle 6: The ocean and humans and inextricably interconnected.

Addressed community developed, nationally-recognized Atmospheric Science Literacy Principles:

  • ... 6: We seek to understand the past, present, and future behavior of Earth's atmosphere through scientific observation and reasoning.

Addressed grand challenges in earth and environmental science:

  • Mitigate risk and build resilience from natural and human-made hazards (AGI)
  • Quantify consequences, impacts, effects (GSA)

A great fit for courses in:

  • Secondary science methods*
  • Earth science education
  • Elementary science methods
  • Nature of science
  • Environmental studies

This module is designed for courses in Secondary Science Teaching Methods. Most colleges and universities that offer secondary teacher certification have such a course. Methods courses are taught commonly by faculty from a college/department of education (science education specialists), but may also be taught by disciplinary education specialists from science departments. The course typically focuses on instructional strategies appropriate for middle and high school science and usually includes designing (and sometimes peer-teaching) instructional units in the discipline for which the student is seeking certification. The course is usually taken after students have completed their disciplinary coursework and before student teaching. Students in methods courses commonly have widely varying academic backgrounds, with no to major expertise in any particular science discipline. For example, the pre-service Earth science teachers (with experience in many geoscience courses) may be classmates with pre-service physics teachers, who may have no geoscience experience. Therefore, this short module will introduce all pre-service secondary science teachers to the unique methods of geoscience and give them experience in embedding geoscience methods and content in interdisciplinary lessons.


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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »