The Earth System Science (ESS) modules are designed for teachers who are taking ESSEA courses. Teachers can also use the ESS course modules with their students. Print them out, or have your students read them online. They have situations, connections to the standards, resources and sample investigations. Unless a module is labeled K-4, you can adapt it for grades 5-12. The section entitled, "Inquiry Strategies to Use in Your Classroom" may also be helpful to you in using the modules with your students.
Resources are provided for students to get started with an investigation. All modules contain suggested resources, many of which are links to appropriate, high-quality Web sites. While following the PBL model, students will form questions to guide their research. Links are included that will greatly assist students in getting started, but they certainly will be able to find other credible resources outside of these.
Earth System Science Analysis
Many of the modules ask students to conduct an ESS analysis. The ESSEA modules are event based, that is, some natural or human induced event causes stress to the environment. Natural events include tsunamis, volcanoes, Earthquakes, meteor impacts and natural climate change. Events caused by humans could include climate change through increased greenhouse gas emissions, ozone depletion, dams and deforestation.
Having groups of students conduct an ESS analysis demonstrates to them the interdisciplinary nature of mathematics and the sciences. A typical ESSEA module may require mathematical calculations and involve objectives pertaining to biology, Earth science, physics and chemistry. The ESS analysis will also reveal that seldom does an event take place in isolation, the event nearly always causes impacts to the EarthÕs spheres: lithosphere (land), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), and biosphere (living things). There are additional spheres in the system, such as the cryosphere (snow and ice), and these will also play a role at some point. The spheres in turn will often impact each other and will likely have some impact back on the event.
The following links will assist teachers with adding ESS analyses to tools their students can use: