## Target skills to work on during all three semesters:

#### Numeracy and Math Skills

• convert units
• make an order of magnitude calculation in one's head
• go from a verbal or visual description of an earth process to an equation (in algebra or trigonometry, not calculus)

#### Spatial Relationships: Maps and Scales

• internalize a map of the earth with continents, oceans, major mountain ranges and major rivers in the correct places (be able to sketch from memory)
• plot positions accurately on a map using latitude and longitude
• measure distances, directions, and areas accurately on a map
• use a computer to plot information (has anyone tried MapInfo?)
• cultivate the ability to visualize three-dimensional objects, and mentally rotate, translate, and deform such objects
• use the concept of scale in describing earth processes (e.g. different properties of water at microscopic and macroscopic scales)
• use the concept of symmetry, planes of symmetry, and axes of symmetry in describing natural objects

#### Time and Changes Through Time (rate)

• internalize the geological time scale (be able to draw from memory a rough timeline from the formation of the solar system to the present)
• be able to discuss a specific earth process on a variety of timescales (for example: changes in the volume of water in the oceans on the time- scales of billions, hundred million, million, ten thousand, one hundred years)
• internalize the immensity of geological time

#### Information

• find specific desired pieces of information in the primary and reference geoscience literature
• find desired geoscience information using electronic sources such as the World Wide Web

#### Logic and Reasoning

• identify and articulate assumptions
• assemble a logical chain of reasoning from cause to proximal effect to distal effect
• assemble a logical chain of reasoning from observation to inference
• detect flaws in other people's chains of reasoning
• recognize a testable hypothesis
• given a set of observations, formulate a potentially testable hypothesis to explain those observations

#### Communication

• be able to make a lucid, unrehearsed, oral presentation of a geoscientific observation, process or chain of reasoning using appropriate professional vocabulary
• be able to write a lucid paragraph describing a geoscientific observation, process or chain of reasoning using appropriate professional vocabulary
• use email
• use a word processor (including tables and outliner)

#### Earth Materials

• predict (qualitatively) how a fluid will move under a variety of circumstances (this requires a conceptual grasp of buoyancy, density, gravity, convection, friction, viscosity, turbulence, diffusion, surface tension and heat capacity)
• predict (qualitatively) the behavior of materials under a variety of perturbing circumstances (e.g. changes in temperature, pressure or stress)
• Visualize an atom anda molecule

#### Earth Observing Tools and Techniques

• choose the appropriate earth observing tool(s) to find the answer to a specific question about the earth

#### Data Collection

• given an experimental procedure, figure out what data needs to be collected to retain a complete record of everything important that happened during the experiment
• during an experiment, keep a complete record of everything important that happened
• describe the potential sources of error in data which student has collected

#### Data Manipulation and Analysis

• use a spreadsheet to organize and perform calculations on data
• use a spreadsheet or graphing application to display data as graphs
• plot one variable against another (scatter or line plot, as appropriate), and describe pattern and trends
• use the concepts of positively or negatively correlated in the description and interpretation of data sets
• use the concepts of linear and non-linear dependence in the description and interpretation of data sets
• use the concept of "...is a function of..." in the description and interpretation of data sets
• use the concepts of independent and dependent variables in the description and interpretation of data sets
• plot data on a histogram and describe patterns and trends.
• construct a contour plot from digital data, and describe patterns and trends
• plot spatial data on a map, and describe the trends and patterns observed
• plot a variable versus time and describe the patterns and trends observed
• use the concepts of peak, trough, and rate of change in the description and interpretation of temporal data
• use the concepts of cyclicity vs unidirectionality in the description and interpretation of temporal data sets
• use the concepts of trends, and fluctuation about a trend, in the description and interpretation data
• use the concepts of period, amplitude, and wavelength in the description and interpretation of temporal data
• calculate differences between two data sets, and describe the patterns and trends in the difference
• calculate an "anomaly", i.e. a difference between an observed data set and an expected or average set of values, and describe the patterns and trends in the anomaly (including the effect of the choice of the reference values against which the anomaly is calculated)
• beginning with a table of data, figure out what kind of graph or other display to use to illuminate the important aspects of the data
• calculate simple statistical values (mean, median, standard deviation, regression coefficient), and derive insight from these numbers

#### Experimental Design

• begin to understand where the boundary is between the known and the unknown in Earth Science, and thus where the problems are that are simultaneously unsolved and solvable
• formulate a strategy (or proposal) for answering an unanswered question in earth or environmental science

#### Systems

• use the concepts of negative and positive feedback in describing earth systems
• use the concept of 'equilibrium' in describing earth systems
• given a description of an earth system, predict whether it is going towards equilibrium, and explain your reasoning.
• given a description of an earth system, predict the nature of the feedback loops that might develop
• given a description of an earth system, predict whether two variables will be positively or negatively correlated
• given a description of an earth system, predict whether something will change linearly, exponentially, or not at all over time
• given a description of an earth system, figure out whether a process is cyclical or unidirectional
• given a description of an earth system, break down it down conceptually into a network of sources, sinks and reservoirs
• draw a flowchart showing fluxes within a system of sources, sinks and reservoirs
• for a simple system of sources, sinks and reservoirs, balance a budget of fluxes
• describe earth processes in terms of fundamental physical phenomena (mass, heat, gravity, buoyancy, density, etc.)
• describe earth processes in terms of deterministic vs. probabilistic
• recognize a model (i.e. given a description of an earth process, pull out a thread of reasoning that constitutes a model, as distinguished from observations, predictions)

#### Interface Between Natural "...sphere" and Humanity

• Given a description of a proposed change in law or economic polity, predict how such a change would impact natural systems, including primary effects and potential side effects. Explain the chain of logic behind your prediction
• Given a description of an observed change in an earth process or phenomenon, describe the natural and human factors that could be contributing to this change
• Given a description of a desired change in an earth process or phenomenon (e.g. "we wish to decrease the rate of global warming"), formulate a policy change that you think would bring about the desired change in the natural system. Explain the chain of reasoning behind your suggested policy

#### Other

• for some spot on earth (any place, student's choice), be able to describe the regional geological history, and fit the local events into global events in earth history (i.e. climate fluctuations, sealevel changes, plate movements)

## Skills Emphasized in Climate/Hydrosphere Semester

#### Spatial Relationships: Maps and Scales

• internalize (be able to draw from memory) the global distribution of climate zones, sea surface temperature patterns, location of storm tracks, patterns of prevailing surface winds
• Read a current weather map (from newspaper or retrieve using Mosaic) and make one's own prediction of tomorrow's weather

#### Earth Materials

• Predict (qualitatively) the behavior of water and air under a variety of perturbing circumstances (e.g. changes in temperature or pressure)
• Balance a chemical equation

#### Systems

• describe earth processes in terms of deterministic vs. probabilistic: chance of rain tomorrow, 5-day forecast, seasonal prediction

#### Interface Between Natural "...sphere" and Humanity

• Given a description of an observed phenomenon (e.g. less water in a lake), describe the natural and human factors that could be contributing to this phenomenon

## Skills Emphasized in Solid Earth/Lithosphere Semester

#### Maps

• internalize a map of the world with major tectonic plates and plate boundaries in the correct places (be able to sketch from memory)
• look at a topographic map and mentally visualize the landscape
• geologic map skills (need to identify a specific subset for this group)

#### Lithosphere Materials

• identify N common minerals in hand sample
• identify N common rock types in hand sample
• identify N economically important rocks & minerals in handsample
• describe where these materials are found on the earth
• describe the processes by which these materials were formed
• describe how these materials are used by human beings

#### Earth Observing Tools and Techniques

• choose the appropriate earth observing tool(s) to find the answer to a specific question about the solid earth (need to specify the tools and techniques)

#### Interface Between Natural "...sphere" and Humanity

• Discuss the implications of a policy decision on a natural system (e.g. mining laws)
• Given a description of an observed phenomenon (e.g. earthquakes around reservoir), describe the natural and human factors that could be contributing to this

## Skills Emphasized in Life/Biosphere Semester

#### Spatial Relationships: Maps and Scales

• Be able to draw from memory a global map of ecological zones and relate them to environmental variables

#### Biosphere Materials

• Be able to tell whether something is alive or not (understand what life is)
• Be able to recognize at least a few plants and animals and fossils

#### Earth Observing Tools and Techniques

• Be able to walk through various living environments and recognize the functional components: producers, detritivors, consumers, reducing areas, oxidizing areas
• Be able to examine a fossil environment and recognize the functional components: producers, detritivors, consumers, reducing areas, oxidizing areas

#### Data Manipulation and Analysis

• Given several assemblages of fossils, use a specific methodology (i.e. cluster analysis, index fossils, ??seriation??) to put them into an evolutionary context (i.e. determine which are closely spaced in time, which are further apart in time
• Given a group of organisms, describe their similarities and differences, and assess which are more closely or more distantly related.

#### Biosphere Systems

• Predict how a population will (over generations) respond to an environmental change (e.g. sealevel rise, introduction of pesticide, introduction of disease)
• For a given region, identify individuals, communities and ecosystems

#### Interface Between Natural "...sphere" and Humanity

• Given a description of an observed phenomenon (e.g. decreasing populations of amphibians), describe the natural and human factors that could be contributing to this phenomenon
• Describe one's own role in the global ecosystem