Focus Day 2: Earth Science Literacy Day

MONDAY  --  Learn the fundamentals of geosciences with Earth Science: Big Idea, a video series developed to explain why Earth science literacy is important.

The Earth Science Literacy Initiative (ESLI), funded by the National Science Foundation, has gathered and codified the underlying understandings of Earth sciences into a succinct document that will have broad-reaching applications in both public and private arenas. It establishes the “Big Ideas” and supporting concepts that all Americans should know about Earth sciences. The resulting Earth Science Literacy framework will also become part of the foundation, along with similar documents from the Oceans, Atmospheres and Climate communities, of a larger geoscience Earth Systems Literacy effort.

The Earth Science Literacy framework document of Big Ideas and supporting concepts is a community effort representing the current state-of-the-art research in Earth sciences. It has been written, evaluated, shaped, and revised by the top scientists working in Earth science. Because of its validity, authority, and succinct format, the ESL framework will be influential in a wide variety of scientific, educational, and political settings. Future governmental legislation will be guided by it, and future national and state educational standards will be based upon it.

Big Ideas: Videos & Activities

AGI has produced a video series, the "Big Ideas videos," to bring to life the “big ideas” of Earth science - the nine core concepts that everyone should know. Teachers can use the videos in many ways (note that the video series is available on YouTube as well as TeacherTube). For example:

  • Use "Why Earth Science?" (video below) to introduce the importance of Earth science to your students, their parents and guardians, and your school's guidance counselor.

  • Show each of the nine Big Ideas videos either as an introduction to or a summary of activities relating to that Big Idea.

  • Build assessments around the supporting concepts in the Big Ideas videos.

  • Have your students create their own learning materials for younger age groups based on the videos.

For activities to help your students build understanding of each core concept, click on any of these nine Big Ideas:

Teachers are encouraged to read the full Earth Science Literacy Principles document to dive in deeper to these ideas.

You may also want to show students this informative video, Why Earth Science? (also available in YouTube and TeacherTube).


In the PAESTA Classroom

Use the articles and questions we have developed as part of our PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.

You may also print off and have students read articles from the Planet Press collection we have listed on our website. Planet Press is an initiative from the European Geosciences Union (EGU) aimed at getting kids (mainly 7-11 year olds) interested in and engaged with up to date scientific research and news. Each Planet Press is reviewed by a scientist and educator to ensure the content is scientifically accurate and that the language used is appropriate for the 7-11 age range.