Teacher Preparation > Supporting Preservice Teachers > Browse Teacher Preparation Courses > University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Earth Natural Resource Systems

Earth Natural Resource Systems

David Gosselin (website)
School of Natural Resource Sciences and Conservation and Survey Division
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Course Type:
General Education - Lab Science

Course Size:
Lecture/Lab 24/24

Course Summary
Earth Natural Resource Systems is a stand-alone lab science general education course serving a wide student population including pre-service teachers. It is designed as an earth science content course which models a hands-on, activity-based approach to science. Some activities are designed for direct transfer into K-8 classrooms while others focus on maximizing content understanding for college-level students with a relatively weak science background. Students focus on the earth as a system providing resources and services necessary for human survival. The course meets for two 2.5 hour lecture/lab combination sessions per week.

For Dr. Gosselin's reflections on the course and its design, see Earth Natural Resource Systems: Role in the Program.

Course Context:

All University of Nebraska-Lincoln students are required to complete three science classes as part of their general education program: a biological lab science, a physical lab science and one other science that need not have an attached lab. Earth Natural Resource Systems fulfills the physical lab science category. Elementary and middle school pre-service teachers are encouraged, but not required, to take this stand-alone course.

Course Goals:

This course seeks to build student understanding of the earth and its subsystems from the perspective of their ability to provide important natural resources to society.
  1. Describe and explain first-order interactions between the hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
  2. Acknowledge and work with individuals who have different perspectives regarding the management of natural resources.
  3. Develop conceptual models for a variety of Earth's natural resource systems that qualitatively include mass and energy fluxes.
  4. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the properties, occurrence and distribution of water and soils.
  5. Describe the basic chemical and physical processes as well as the social and economic issues that control the distribution and acquisition of mineral and energy resources.
  6. Collect basic data required for the analysis of natural resource systems.
  7. Analyze and interpret data using basic statistics and graphs.
  8. Describe the impact of humans as stewards, managers and components of natural resources systems.

Course Content:

Earth Natural Resource Systems focuses on a interactions between the geosphere and hydrosphere and how they provide critical resources and environmental services critical to human civilization. The course takes a whole earth view before focusing on rocks, minerals and the resources they provide. Students use principles from earth history to read the story rocks tell before working through the water cycle and examining soil development. Alongside their studies students gain technical skills with maps and GPS technology.
  1. Scientific Principles & Concepts
  2. Natural Resources & Civilization
  3. Tools of the Trade
  4. Rock & Mineral Resources
  5. Water Resources
  6. Soil Resources & Landscapes

Teaching Materials:

Materials available for this course on this website include:


Students in Earth Natural Resource Systems are assessed by three mechanisms:

References and Notes:

Earth Natural Resource Systems is not required for teacher elementary or middle school teacher licensure, but is designed in accord with Nebraska state content standards based upon the National Science Education Standards.

Alongside Earth Natural Resource Systems with its broad audience, UNL' School of Natural Resources has partnered with the College of Education and Human Sciences to bring similar educational opportunities to in-service teachers through an on-line format. Pre-service teachers may be given the option of the on-line format at a future date.