and History of EarthComm
Overview of EarthComm
Workshop leaders should understand the process by which EarthComm
- Teachers provided significant input throughout the development
process. Teacher input helped to ensure that the program is
workable in the classroom and is appropriate for its intended
- Scientists and educators collaborated throughout the development
of EarthComm, ensuring that the product is both scientifically
and educationally sound.
- The process has been iterative. Repeated cycles of development,
review, and revision yielded an educational product that became
stronger and more focused with each cycle.
The material below provides more information about the development
EarthComm (Earth Systems Science in The Community: Understanding
Our Environment) is an NSF-funded curriculum project guided in
design and approach by the National Science Education Standards
(NRC, 1996), AGI's Earth Science Content Guidelines for Grades
K-12 (AGI, 1991), and other major science education curriculum
and reform programs. This program builds on the strength of other
successful AGI Earth science education projects such as the Earth
Science Curriculum Project (known to many as Investigating the
Earth). EarthComm does not cover as many topics as the traditional
Earth science textbook. It emphasizes important concepts, understandings,
and abilities that all students can use to make wise decisions,
think critically, and understand and appreciate the Earth system.
The goals of the EarthComm program are:
- To teach students the principles and practices of Earth science
and to demonstrate the relevance of Earth science to their life
- To approach Earth science through the problem solving, community-based
model in which the teacher plays the role of facilitator.
- To establish an expanded learning environment that incorporates
fieldwork, technological access to data, and traditional classroom
and laboratory activities.
- To support the development of communities of learners by
establishing student teams and by building a greater regional
and national community through telecommunication access.
- To utilize local and regional issues and concerns to stimulate
problem-solving activities and to foster a sense of Earth stewardship
by students in their communities.
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Hundreds of teachers, scientists, and students helped produce
EarthComm. In the summer of 1998, teams of Earth science educators
wrote 122 inquiry-based investigations. Teachers and scientists
reviewed EarthComm chapters, which were then revised for pilot
testing by 26 teachers in the spring of 1999. Seventeen teachers
from the National Earth Science Teachers Association collaborated
with project staff to revise EarthComm in the summer of 1999.
EarthComm underwent a national field test in the 1999-2000 school
year, and each chapter was reviewed by as many as five scientists
and a senior content editor during commercial development.
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AGI has partnered with Its About Time, publishers of outstanding
reform-based math and science curriculum projects (Active Physics
and Math Connections), to publish, market, and distribute EarthComm
and to develop and deliver teacher enhancement and professional
development workshops. Over time, AGI will develop a complete
suite of materials to help teachers implement EarthComm. These
will include CD-ROMs, resource packets, videos, slide sets, and
black line masters.
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- Teams of Earth science educators develop the first activities,
with direction from the American Geological Institute.
- Scientists and teachers review and revise activities.
- First teacher enhancement workshop in preparation for pilot testing.
- Pilot testing begins.
- Pilot testing is completed.
- Development and revision continues, with input from scientists,
other reviewers, and teachers.
- Teacher workshops are conducted at four regional testing centers,
in preparation for the field test.
- It's About Time publishing joins project.
- Field testing begins.
- Field testing is completed.
- Content reviews are completed.
- Final pre-publication revisions are made
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AGI's professional development programs for teachers are supported
by generous contributions from corporate contributors of the American
Geological Institute Foundation, the American
Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation, and ChevronTexaco.