"For fifteen years the NASA-sponsored Earth System Science Education for the 21st Century (ESSE 21) and precursor programs have fostered among colleges and universities an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the Earth as a system of interrelated air, water, land, life and social processes. Led by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), ESSE 21 offers colleges and universities small, competitive grants to develop Earth system science courses, curricula, and degree programs. ESSE 21 engages a collaborative community of educators and scientists as partners in jointly developing and sharing courses and learning resources focused on Earth system science research and application. ESSE 21 places special emphasis on reaching minority serving institutions. Sixty-three teams have been funded since 1991 supporting faculty from different disciplines to come together to develop and offer courses with relevant and compelling science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content focused on understanding Earth. ESSE 21 participants stimulate their students' critical and creative thinking with Earth system models, research results, data and visualizations available from NASA and the broader interdisciplinary community engaged in Earth system science. These resources increase opportunities for teaching and learning about the Earth as a system while developing competency in underlying STEM principles.
Understanding the Earth as a system is central to the IPY theme. ESSE 21 and IPY share common goals, seeking to attract and develop the next generation of scientists, engineers, leaders and citizens mindful of Earth system connections. The IPY seeks to make the polar regions and processes better known to people beyond the polar regions and offers an opportunity for people living in the Arctic to strengthen their communication with the rest of the world. The ESSE 21 association with IPY activities forwards the goals of both organizations. ESSE 21 seeks to increase awareness of IPY science themes and learning resources in the broader undergraduate ESS community being served by the program, focus interest in the role of polar regions in ESS among the ESSE 21 participants and others, and foster collaboration between the ESS educators and the broader IPY science and education partners.
Earth system science embraces chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and applied sciences. But rather than approaching each one of these, holding all the rest constant, Earth system science seeks a deeper understanding of the systemic interactions between physical, chemical, biological, and human behavioral subjects. Systemically integrated into ESS, students not only learn the components of scientific thinking, but also learn about cause, effect, implications, and feedback connections of past, current, and future states of Earth. The study of Earth as a system offers a compelling and relevant context for the introduction and application of STEM topics, with special potential to inspire and support traditionally underrepresented and underserved audiences. The ESS educational approach has laid the groundwork for teaching and learning a systems perspective of Earth completely complementary to the goals of the IPY.
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What is IPY
Thursday, 28 December 2006 09:54
IPY and ESSE 21: Earth System Science Education and IPYWritten by Administrator
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