concepts and challenges in earth science pdf

Concepts And Challenges In Earth Science Pdf

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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. E arth and space sciences ESS investigate processes that operate on Earth and also address its place in the solar system and the galaxy.

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Concepts and Challenges - Earth Science Student

Metrics details. This article addresses the question of what the future directions and emphases of the research in the earth science education field ought to be. However, the quality of this research, and the growing need for knowledge in Earth science, have done little to improve the low profile of ESE in schools worldwide.

The article posits that narrowing this disturbing gap between the educational potential of Earth science and its low profile in schools requires a holistic agenda. Such an agenda will encompass the deepening of existing research of the Earth systems approach in areas like the development of environmental insight better understanding the learning process as an embedded human instinct, which will hopefully contribute to changing the current essentialism-based teaching culture.

However, it will also include new avenues of research focused on changing the attitudes of geoscientists towards their role in society and the adoption of geoethical values. One of the existential challenges with which citizens in the twenty-first century must contend is coexisting peacefully with the environment.

Earth Science is the scientific discipline that explores our planet Earth and provides this knowledge and understanding. It involves almost every critical component of our life on Earth, starting from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the energy we use, the buildings we live and work in, and the materials used for our daily lives. Twenty-First century science tends to adopt an interdisciplinary perspective and a systems approach toward dealing with a broad spectrum of scientific domains.

The influence of this tendency is well shown in the geosciences, where the different fields are becoming increasingly enmeshed, forming a relatively new but dominant field known as Earth System Science ESS. ESS works towards an integral and more holistic view of Earth, recognizing Earth processes as part of a system. This system is composed of five interrelated subsystems geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere and biosphere that are constantly recycling matter and energy from one subsystem to another.

ESS studies involve understanding these individual systems, as well as how the systems interact with and influence one another. This includes recognizing that Earth systems are continuously changing, that systems must be understood over both time and space, and that processes that influence Earth systems do so across many scales, from micro to planetary, and over timescales ranging from milliseconds to millennia.

Over the past four decades, Earth Science Education ESE research has been following the conceptual change, from a view of geoscience as a series of independent fields, towards its perception as a single, comprehensive system.

This evolution was reviewed and detailed by Orion and Ault and Orion and Libarkin Altogether, these two reviews suggest that, though the number of published studies in Earth Science Education ESE is not great, it would not be an overstatement to conclude that today, at the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, ESE research has established a solid theoretical foundation for practicing ESE in schools. This foundation encompasses a broad range of aspects that are crucial for effective K Earth Science ES teaching.

It provides learners with the cognitive skills needed to develop environmental insights - the ability to overcome cognitive barriers to spatial and temporal thinking, retrospection, and understanding phenomena across scales of many orders of magnitude, to integrate diverse subjects, and to develop the cognitive capacity for systems thinking.

Some of these thinking skills, like the understanding of deep time, cyclic thinking and system thinking, are quite unique to ESE, while others, such as logic and scientific thinking, are more general. The research has also suggested how to integrate the indoor learning environments classroom, lab, computer with the outdoor learning environments under the umbrella of the holistic Earth systems approach. This article addresses the question of what the future directions and emphases of research in the field of earth science education ought to be.

The first stage for those wishing to bridge the gap between the importance and relevance of the Earth science to society and its low status in schools worldwide is to understand why and how it came to be. Orion suggested that the explanation for this gap is a vicious cycle of unawareness. This cycle includes the improper practice of Earth Science education in most countries.

As a result, many students leave school with misconceptions and misapprehensions about the relevance of Earth Science and the importance of Earth Science education. These attitudes perpetuate the narrow perspectives of reductionist policy makers in education, including politicians, scientists, and educators, with the result that there has been no appreciable change in the profile of Earth Science in schools, or in the way that it is taught. This vicious cycle thus continues for generations without any significant progress, a situation that is only amplified by the tendency of geoscientists worldwide to stay away from public activity, including the educational system.

Consequently, there is insufficient support for promoting the quality and quantity of earth science in schools. Rather, it is only a symptom of the essentialist philosophy that most schools in most countries preserve and support. Essentialism has been the dominant education approach in public schools worldwide since their foundation in the eighteenth century. This socio-economic approach sees the child as raw material and the school as a means to mold the child into an obedient and productive citizen.

Essentialism ignores the element of personal relevance, and students, as individuals, must accept and perform whatever the authorities have decided that they should learn, regardless of how relevant they find it for their present-day life.

The analysis above suggests that bridging the disturbing gap between the potential of Earth Sciences and its low profile in schools requires the investment of multi directional efforts.

Some of these efforts will involve expanding upon preexisting avenues of research, while others will require investing substantially in a new direction designed to bring in a currently underutilized educational asset. The Earth systems education approach has been implemented in several countries over the past two decades.

Nevertheless, the implementation of the Earth systems approach worldwide is still limited, and additional research is therefore needed to study the professional and cultural barriers that hinder this implementation and to generate strategies for overcoming these obstacles. This section names and summarizes several key research objectives in the field of Earth systems education that have yet to be accomplished. There is growing evidence that citizens, young and old, need to be more informed and active in solving global problems, such as the current climate change, the need to exploit new minerals, make sustainable use of water resources and to protect bio- and geodiversity.

The study of the interacting Earth systems - within the dimension of deep time and the large spatial scale of geological processes — will enable students to appreciate the realistic influence of humans on the Earth in deep time perception. In addition, it will move away from the traditional altruistic environmental awareness approach towards the environmental insight egocentric and geocentric approach. According to this new educational approach, the ultimate aim of Earth systems education is the development of environmental insight.

Orion noted the relationships between systems thinking skills and the development of environmental insight among high school students and adults. However, an extensive research effort is still needed to explore the influence of system thinking skills and geological deep time perception on the development of environmental insight.

Moreover, an additional avenue of study in this area is needed for better, broader and deeper understanding of the meaning of being an environmentally insightful citizen. Inquiry-based learning in small groups at school is embedded within the Earth Systems Education ESE approach, both in indoor learning environments and in the outdoor learning environment. Eyov presented a mechanism of interactions, where a positive social situation that includes social connections or a sense of belonging that stems from the existence of these relationships constitutes a fundamental factor for the development of independent learning skills.

Levy, Kaplan, and Assor reckon that students who are preoccupied with their social function or state in class will find it difficult to focus on learning, due to a conflict between the social need and the educational need. There are several fundamental needs that are essential for the academic success of students in school, including a sense of belonging, a sense of connectedness and security. Since learning in school takes place in a social environment, SW is expected to be a main factor that affects the optimal emotional state for learning.

The social aspect is not new in educational research, or in the more specific field of science teaching. However, research in the field of cooperative learning focused on the contribution of co-operation to learning itself, without focusing on the relationship between the social situation of the individual and the emotional state required for the existence of a learning process. Under this theoretical framework, it seems relevant to examine the interrelationship between the social wellbeing of Earth science students and the learning and teaching of the ESE approach.

This research area might deal with research questions like:. Earth systems approach is the opposite of the traditional approach to teaching adopted in schools and universities. In contrast, the Earth systems approach is based on the construction of knowledge by learners through the mediation of the teacher, and is therefore based on a close engagement of the learner in the learning process.

Thus, the shift from traditional teaching to earth systems education requires, among other things, the understanding that learning is a natural process - it is an instinct.

The learning mechanism in human beings, as in other animals, is instinctive, and therefore occurs in response to stimulation. Possibly, the difference between humans and other species lies in the relationship between learning and the characteristics of natural and intrinsic motivation for learning.

Thus, in humans, the main stimulus for learning is emotional, and the cognitive ability follows this emotional need. Unfortunately, the classic classroom stifles this natural instinct, consequently encouraging boredom, absenteeism, and rebellion among the students. Children must find their own meaning and relevance in what they learn in school, since this sense of relevance is likely to stimulate their interest in the subject matter, this tapping into their learning instinct.

This statement is based on the Earth systems content and the existing ESE research, which highlights the central role of the outdoor learning environment in creating personal relevance. This personal relevance should stimulate the learning instinct mechanism and, once this instinct is active, students will cooperate and engage in the inquiry-based learning.

Consequently, with the right program, students can develop high-order thinking skills, such as the ability to discern between an observation, a conclusion and an assumption, to think in a geological time dimension deep time , and to engage in spatial thinking, three-dimensional thinking and system thinking.

Thus, a central component of the ESE research agenda should be the exploration of the interrelationships between the Earth systems education approach and stimulating the learning instincts of earth science learners. This research component should include two aspects.

The first aspect should focus on how to identify learners or episodes of learning that are controlled by the learning instincts, and then to study the emotional factors that stimulate the learning instincts of various individuals.

The second branch of study should focus on studying the biological aspects of the learning instinct. This could mean, first of all, working to verify its existence through a joint research project with brain scientists.

If learning is an instinct, then it should be connected to the hormonal system, and its stimuli and appearance might be detectable in the emotional and cognitive sections of the brain. This branch of study is important, since if the learning instinct theory were to be supported by brain studies, it might help shift the focus of schools from the needs of the authorities to the needs of the children.

Such a shift is crucial for the adoption of the earth systems approach by schools worldwide. Earth systems education can endow citizens and future citizens with knowledge and abilities with which to draw conclusions for the effective and proper use and conservation of energy, water, and other natural resources.

Citizens who understand their environment and its processes are better able to judge and behave in a more scientifically aligned way.

Moreover, several countries have presented substantial evidence-based data indicating that the Earth systems educational approach can fulfill its potential and, more importantly, how to do it. The role of ESS education in decision-making research has until now been quite limited, although work is beginning to emerge that asks tantalizing questions about how people make decisions in the face of Earth phenomena Drost, Investigation of the mechanisms people use to make decisions about the Earth, both in terms of human impacts on the planet and planetary impacts on humans, is needed to understand how to engender effective decision-making among our citizenry.

Effective future research in ESS education should consider all of the variables that are known to be important for decision-making about the Earth system. While some work has considered the role that educational interventions play in changing how students support decisions about complex topics Grace, , ESS education has still not fully begun to ask questions about real world impacts.

As natural disasters have played a larger role in global discourse, largely made possible by the nearly instantaneous real-time news and video feeds of the internet, ESS education has become increasingly important and clearly inadequate.

The challenge of future research is to consider how to move ESS instruction into greater prominence within our educational systems. In light of these growing global needs, the community should focus on work that can build connections between real-world decision-making and what happens in the classroom or other educational settings.

While further exploring the four objectives noted above would continue to develop and solidify Earth systems education, strengthening of Earth systems education will, by itself, only deepen the contrast between the research outcomes and the low profile of earth science education in schools.

Therefore, the most pressing future research challenge to which research efforts in ESE should be directed is resolving this contradiction and bridging the gap. This section therefore details a series of new directions for future research, all of which revolve around revising the education and the social role of geoscientists. A deep change in the status of Earth science education in schools requires a deep change in the attitudes of geoscientists towards their social responsibility.

Geoethics deals with the ethical, social and cultural implications of geoscience research and practice, and with the social role and responsibility of geoscientists in conducting their activities. The inner aspects include issues such as the line between freedom of research and the principles of sustainability, or the line between preservation of the geo-heritage and economic development. The external aspects involve the relationships between geoscientists, media, politicians and citizens.

This aspect deals with the responsibility of the geoscientist community to communicate with the public on a regular basis about topics in geoscience, and to inform and educate the public on geoscience issues that are critical to the quality of life - and even the survival - of any local civil community.

Geoscientists can provide information and knowledge about local and global environmental risks and natural hazards. They can inform the public about the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the energy we use, the buildings we live and work in, the materials used for our daily lives and the geoheritage that is the basis for local and global tourism.

However, as already mentioned above, there are not many geoscientists worldwide who have in interest in interacting with the public, and only few of them have the skills for this level and type of non-academic communication. This situation is rooted in the history of the geoscience discipline, which has influenced the way geoscience students have been educated in universities for centuries.

Significant research effort should therefore be invested among the university geoscience researchers and professors to undertake a deep change in all levels of the university geoscience education programs. This change should include the integration of the following three subjects within the traditional university geoscience disciplinary courses: the earth systems approach, geoethics education, and the development of communication skills.

More specifically, research within higher education geoscience teaching should include the following domains:.

Concepts and Challenges: Earth Science Teacher's Edition

Earth Science Middle School Notes Many different sciences are used to learn about the earth, however, the four basic areas of Earth science study are: geology, meteorology, oceanography and astronomy. Topographic Maps Notes 1. Geologic Time Scale in 12 hours. Many different sciences are used to learn about the Earth; however, the four basic areas of Earth science study are: geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy. Topics include rock and mineral types, material stresses and weathering, geologic time and fossil formation, the Earth's crust and tectonic plates, and soil formation and composition. But in the middle of an ice sheet, the ice remains close to the Ice Age temperatures at which it formed.

Earth science is a broad term referring to the fields of science dealing with our planet. It involves studies on the lithosphere including geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and geography , the hydrosphere including hydrology and marine, ocean, and cryospheric sciences and the atmosphere including meteorology and climatology. As such, Earth science consists of a broad spectrum of interconnected physical, chemical, and biological disciplines dealing with processes which have been occurring on our world for billions of years, from the subatomic to the planetary scale. The stature of Earth science has grown with each new decade, defining the history of life, unveiling the evolution of the planetary surface, quantifying natural hazards, locating mineral and energy resources and characterizing the climate system. This, supported by continuing technical and theoretical improvements, has allowed reaching an unprecedented understanding of countless processes.


Key Words: Earth science, research, environment, hazard, resourceIntroductionEarth science Download PDF · ReadCube · EPUB · XML (​NLM); Supplementary Under these premises, the main challenges for Earth science may be defined. “Concepts of the hydrological cycle,” in Ancient and Modern.


Grand challenges in Earth science: research toward a sustainable environment

Biodiversity is the foundation of ecosystem services to which human well-being is intimately linked. No feature of Earth is more complex, dynamic, and varied than the layer of living organisms that occupy its surfaces and its seas, and no feature is experiencing more dramatic change at the hands of humans than this extraordinary, singularly unique feature of Earth. This layer of living organisms—the biosphere—through the collective metabolic activities of its innumerable plants, animals, and microbes physically and chemically unites the atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere into one environmental system within which millions of species , including humans, have thrived. It follows that large-scale human influences over this biota have tremendous impacts on human well-being.

Metrics details. This article addresses the question of what the future directions and emphases of the research in the earth science education field ought to be. However, the quality of this research, and the growing need for knowledge in Earth science, have done little to improve the low profile of ESE in schools worldwide. The article posits that narrowing this disturbing gap between the educational potential of Earth science and its low profile in schools requires a holistic agenda. Such an agenda will encompass the deepening of existing research of the Earth systems approach in areas like the development of environmental insight better understanding the learning process as an embedded human instinct, which will hopefully contribute to changing the current essentialism-based teaching culture.

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4 Comments

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