Earth System Science Education (ESSE) at Lehigh University
is a Web site designed to promote ESSE for entry level college students and
advanced high school students. This site contains instructional modules, laboratories,
and tools designed to promote inquiry-based learning. The materials emphasize
data analysis skills and understanding real-world applications. The modules
can be used alone or with companion lecture, laboratory, or field components.
The modules have been validated and field-tested in the classroom.
Instructional module descriptions:
How Does the Carbon Cycle
Carbon is an important global biogeochemical cycle, essential for Earth System
Science understanding and relevant for global citizenship. In the module, learners
understand the components of the carbon cycle in the terrestrial biosphere,
hydrosphere and geosphere, and examine human impacts on the carbon cycle.
Remote sensing is a key tool for understanding our environment and how it changes.
It can also be used to determine land cover/land use distributions and quantities
over very large (local watershed to continental and global) areas. In the remote
sensing module, learners develop skills in spatial data analyses and visualization.
The Remote Sensing module can be used alone, or with the carbon cycle module,
within or outside the classroom. Accompanying case studies Pennsylvania
Sprawl and Melting
Glaciers provide examples of how remote sensing techniques are being
applied to study changes within our environment.
Pennsylvania Sprawl is a case study that introduces learners to the
application of remote sensing for the study of changing land use patterns using
an example of farmland loss to urbanization in the Little Lehigh Creek watershed.
The Little Lehigh Creek watershed is situated on the western end of the city
of Allentown, Pennsylvania. Utilizing both historic aerial photographs and modern
satellite imagery of the Little Lehigh Creek watershed, the case study quantifies
the visible change of the landscape and connects land use change to the resultant
environmental impacts, such as the loss of carbon dioxide sequestration within
Melting Glaciers is a case study that introduces learners to the application
of remote sensing for the study of environmental change within the climate sensitive
system of a tropical alpine glacier. Satellite imagery of the Quesillococha
Glacier, located within the central Andes of Peru, exemplifies the use of remote
sensing to record yearly changes in snow melt at high elevations. This case
study highlights the ability of scientists to utilize remote sensing within
isolated and challenging terrain, locations which are scientifically important
yet ground-based study would be prohibitive.