Shop Windows to the Universe

Earth Science Rocks! Select one of our four cool NESTA t-shirts from our online store, and express your love of Earth and space science!
Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS) participant Miriam Garcia joined researchers from the United States, Iceland, and Switzerland in August of 2008 to install high-rate GPS stations in Iceland. Data from this network will increase our understanding of volcanic and tectonic interactions.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of P.I Richard Bennett and RESESS

Earth Science Literacy - Big Idea 1

Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet.

Big Idea 1.1
Earth scientists find solutions to society’s needs. Earth scientists work on challenging problems that face humanity on topics such as climate change and human impacts on Earth. Earth scientists successfully predict hazards to humans and locate and recover natural resources, making possible the flourishing of humans on Earth.

Big Idea 1.2
Earth scientists use a large variety of scientific principles to understand how our planet works. Earth scientists combine study of Earth’s geology with aspects of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics in order to understand the complexities of the Earth system.

Big Idea 1.3
Earth science investigations take many different forms. Earth scientists do reproducible experiments and collect multiple lines of evidence. This evidence is taken from field, analytical, theoretical, experimental, and modeling studies.

Big Idea 1.4
Earth scientists must use indirect methods to examine and understand the structure, composition, and dynamics of Earth’s interior. With the exception of wells and mine shafts drilled into Earth, direct observations of Earth’s interior are not possible. Instead, Earth scientists observe the interior of the planet using seismic waves, gravity, magnetic fields, radar, sonar, and laboratory experiments on the behavior of materials at high pressures and temperatures.

Big Idea 1.5
Earth scientists use their understanding of the past to forecast Earth’s future. Earth science research tells us how Earth functioned in the past under conditions not seen today and how conditions are likely to change in the future.

Big Idea 1.6
Earth scientists construct models of Earth and its processes that best explain the available geological evidence. These scientific models, which can be conceptual or analytical, undergo rigorous scrutiny and testing by collaborating and competing groups of scientists around the world. Earth science research documents are subjected to rigorous peer review before they are published in science journals.

Big Idea 1.7
Technological advances, breakthroughs in interpretation, and new observations continuously refine our understanding of Earth.
This Earth Science Literacy framework must be a living document that grows along with our changing ideas and concepts of Earth.

Last modified July 29, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Winter 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on Earth System science, including articles on student inquiry, differentiated instruction, geomorphic concepts, the rock cycle, and much more!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Earth as a System

The first time people got a glimpse of the whole Earth was December 1968. Apollo 8 astronauts, en route to and from the Moon, took pictures of the Earth from space.  In their photographs, the Earth looks...more

Seismic Waves: Moving and Shaking During an Earthquake

During an earthquake, energy is released in waves that travel from the earthquake’s focus or point of origin, in the form of seismic waves. The seismic waves radiate from the focus like ripples on the...more

The Earth's Magnetosphere

The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The magnetic field of the Earth is enclosed in a region surrounding the Earth called the magnetosphere. As the Earth rotates, its hot core generates...more

How Radar Works

Radar is short for "radio detection and ranging". A transmitter emits pulses of high frequency electromagnetic waves (radio waves). These waves strike conductive objects and are backscattered to the receiver....more

Effects of Climate Change Today

The world's surface air temperature increased an average of 0.6° Celsius (1.1°F) during the last century according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This may not sound like very...more

Earth Science Literacy Framework

Big Ideas of Earth Science Earth is our home. We rely upon it for our existence in many different ways. Our planet's rocks, soils, and the chemical, physical, and biological processes that create and transform...more

Atmospheric Science Literacy - Essential Principle 7

Earth's atmosphere and humans are inextricably linked. Fundamental Concept 7.1 Most living organisms on Earth are dependent on Earth's atmosphere and its processes for survival. We require oxygen for breathing;...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF