A Multi-Disciplinary Earth Systems Course Designed for Pre-Service Middle School Teachers

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Earth Systems, a new course developed expressly for pre-service middle school teachers, was developed in response to new Ohio Academic Content Standards in Science and the rigorous Ohio Graduation Test. The course is designed to increase students' content knowledge, research skills and confidence in teaching Earth systems science. It is broken into three modules in which students examine volcanic eruptions, global warming, and the latest ice age. Working in teams, the students determine how each of the above phenomena affects and is affected by Earth's systems. The students then jigsaw into new teams to work out how the various effects in the system create positive and negative feedbacks that determine the ultimate impact of the event (eruption, etc,) on the Earth system. Each group produces a report that is assessed using a rubric. Students are individually assessed through lesson plans and journals.