As a concerted response to the need outlined here, a coalition of scientists and educators and an experienced Earth Science curriculum team are creating a suite of modules to comprise the laboratory component of a capstone high school Earth science course or an introductory college course. The modules focus on Earth system science and environmental literacy. The lab experiences feature a combination of fieldwork, classroom experiments, and computer access to data and visualizations, and demonstrate the rigor and depth of a true lab course.
We are not writing a new textbook. Nor are we re-inventing one-day labs that are already well represented in standard textbooks. Rather, we are creating a lab handbook with exemplary modules that last several days or more, engage students in deep and long-lasting investigations, enable them to explore the rich interconnections in the Earth system, and involve a variety of inquiry-based experiences.
With funding from NOAA, NASA, and NSF, we have developed a set of modules that focus on weather, climate change, the Earth system, and environmental science, and will continue to develop additional modules to support a comprehensive and rigorous full-year capstone Earth science course.