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Earth as a System
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.earthsys.hologlobe/

WGBH/Boston

This short video uses animated imagery from satellite remote sensing systems to illustrate that Earth is a complex, evolving body characterized by ceaseless change. Adapted from NASA, this visualization helps explain why understanding Earth as an integrated system of components and processes is essential to science education.

Video length: 5:30 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts
High School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Packed with information in a short period of time, it offers a "big picture" overview that will require "unpacking".
  • This video could offer a good introduction to a climate change or an Earth System science unit.
  • Audio is necessary to explain what you are seeing. Closed-caption available.
  • Background info and discussion points are on the website.

About the Science

  • This video offers a general overview of the complexities of the Earth System including climate; some details, such as the role of subduction and volcanism to the long term carbon cycle, are not included.
  • Connections to human impacts on climate are embedded in the video.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Highlights the interactive nature of Earth's systems, eg. the role the oceans play in weather.
  • Mentions that Earth's atmosphere is affected by heat stored in Earth's oceans, and then goes on to discuss sea surface temperatures (SSTs) only. It should be made clearer that temperatures below the surface, and deeper currents, also play a role in the redistribution of heat around the planet, and subsequently weather systems.

About the Pedagogy

  • A high-level but accessible overview that offers specific connections to many topics ripe for later discussion or investigation by learners.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • High-production-value video. Shows representations of actual datasets.
  • A background essay and discussion questions are provided for teachers.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-ESS2.A1:All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet’s systems. This energy is derived from the sun and Earth’s hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth’s materials and living organisms.

MS-ESS2.A2:The planet’s systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth’s history and will determine its future.

MS-ESS2.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

MS-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Systems and System Models

MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

MS-C4.2: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

HS-ESS2.A2:Evidence from deep probes and seismic waves, reconstructions of historical changes in Earth’s surface and its magnetic field, and an understanding of physical and chemical processes lead to a model of Earth with a hot but solid inner core, a liquid outer core, a solid mantle and crust. Motions of the mantle and its plates occur primarily through thermal convection, which involves the cycling of matter due to the outward flow of energy from Earth’s interior and gravitational movement of denser materials toward the interior.

HS-ESS2.A3:The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.

HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.3:Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.


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