Earth System Science Research Syllabus

Ms Geerlings


Course Description:

The Earth System Science Research course will provide eleventh and twelfth grade students an opportunity to study Earth System Science using the latest information developed through current technologies. The systems approach to this course will help students understand the complexity and interrelatedness of the Earth system. Students will appreciate the dynamics of local and global environments and the Earth as part of this complex system.

This course is an elective offering designed to engage students in the study of the Atmosphere, Biosphere, Cryosphere, Geosphere, and Hydrosphere. This course will allow students to utilize skills and processes gained from previous science courses to study the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the Earth system.

Course Objectives:

  • Describe the Earth as a dynamic and complex system.
  • Describe the components of the Earth system.
  • Describe how the system responds to natural and human induced changes.
  • Access and process information from readings, investigations, and communications.
  • Create and/or interpret graphics to analyze data and evaluate hypotheses.
  • Analyze appropriate data to classify, identify trends and identify similarities and differences to form conclusions and apply what has been learned to evaluate the hypothesis.
  • Use computational tools and technologies in data collection and analysis.
  • Interpret and communicate findings.

Course Requirements:

Logbook- Students are to keep a dated daily logbook. Notes of the day’s activities should be included. Refer to Logbook Handout for details.

Document Archive- Students are to keep a current, organized 3-ring notebook to collect supporting materials. Refer to Document Archive Handout for details.

Mini Projects- Students will complete a variety of projects during the first nine weeks of the semester to support the research process.

Research Project- Students will complete a Research Project that will explore the interrelationships between the Earth Spheres as components of the Earth System.

Weekly Conferences- Students will participate in weekly conferences to discuss learning and progress towards their goals in their individual research.

Course Materials:

Log Book- Hardbound Composition Book

Document Archive- 2-3’’ 3-Ring Binder with 5 Dividers

Grading Policy:

All assignments will be evaluated on a 4-3-2-1-0 Rubric Scale. Rubrics will be provided. Rubric scores will be averaged. The following components will be included.


Document Archive10%

Weekly Conferences30%

Mini-Projects and Research Project30%

Grades will be assigned as follow:

3.51 – 4.00A

3.01 - 3.50B

2.51 – 3.0C

2.50 or below F

Students are expected to adhere to the Titan Way – To conduct oneself with respect, honor, and integrity at all times.

Missed Class Time: All students are expected to be in class in order to learn and participate fully in the research process. If you are unable to attend class, you will be responsible for making up the time missed by completing your research or work on your own time. All additional research time outside of the classroom must be logged in your daily Log Book. If your absence is unexcused you will not be able to attain a full and complete Log Book score for that week. Computers are available after school for student use if you do not have access at home.

Computer Use Policy: This course will depend heavily on the use of computers and the internet for your learning and research. Misuse (no email, games, non-ESSR websites) of the computers may result in your loss of this privilege. This will impede your progress and affect your grade. Students are expected to follow all Frederick County Public School policies in regard to computer network usage and internet access. A current FCPS User Agreement must be on file with the system administrator.

Safety Contract: Students will sign and abide by the Frederick County Public Schools Laboratory Safety Contract.

Classroom Guidelines/Philosophies

  1. NO Food or drink in the computer lab
  2. Be on time, when the bell has rung you will need a pass to enter the class.
  3. Be respectful to classmates, teacher and yourself.
  4. Be patient with yourself, teacher and others. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES!
  5. Having the right attitude changes everything.

7. Appropriate computer use is a MUST.

**Place in the Course Materials Section of the Document Archive**

Need assistance reaching your goal, I am here to help.

Due to the nature of this course it is imperative that you do not get behind. Please get help from me right away. I am available everyday after school until 3:30pm.

I have read the Course Syllabus and agree to abide by its guidelines.


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The Earth System: