This post was edited by Martin Schmidt on Mar, 2018
I was unable to see the live webinar because I was meeting with chemistry teachers on integrating Earth science, but looked at the recording. Probably will happen again in April!
Thanks for working on this subject; since many districts implementing NGSS are (unfortunately) not creating Earth science courses, NAGT and NESTA need to make a strong push to inform teachers of biology-chemistry-physics (BCP) of Earth science content and connections.
I'll mention first 2 important issues I think NAGT and NESTA should address:
A. As one topic that is vital to Earth science study, where to include a good study of plate tectonics is important. Appendix K puts it mainly in physics (HS-ESS2-1 & 2-3), but I would say it fits better in chemistry since plate tectonics is a vital chemical refinery operation. If a district puts plate tectonics in physics, how do we help teachers and students see its connections to physics? Specific ideas are below but I guess the big idea is to see the Earth as having forces and energy (physics topics!) and so is active & moving - a change from thinking it's static. Actually, since plate tectonics is so fundamental to all geoscience, it belongs in all 3 of BCP and in fact HS-ESS1-5 is included in all subjects though its emphasis on ages only touches on plate tectonics mechanisms.
B. The other over-arching subject is climate change - NAGT and NESTA should work to be sure it is included in EVERY science class in high school. Connections here are easier: biology effects are clear, it's about the chemistry of the atmosphere, and physics is about energy so the energy budget of the Earth fits. In Appendix K, HS-ESS3-1 is in biology and chemistry; HS-ESS2-4 is in chemistry and physics; HS-ESS3-5 is in chemistry, HS-ESS2-2 is in physics. We need to make sure that even as these might move around, schools keep climate change in all courses.
Having taught both physics (& chemistry) and geosciences, below are some connections to physics I can see. I often relate these to Performance Expectations since they may be more directly related to implementation goals, and include several DCIs.
1. Add earthquake waves to the physics study of waves; has the advantage of another example of longitudinal waves besides sound, and wave behavior at liquid-solid boundaries. Demonstrates how the waves tell us about the interior Earth HS-ESS2-3 and PS4. http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~braile/edumod/waves/WaveDemo.htm
2. Physics calculations of speed:
a. Add speeds of objects of Earth systems: wind and water (horizontal and vertical), flowing ice in glaciers. Use live data from sources like https://earth.nullschool.net/.
b. Traditionally earthquakes have been located by differences in speed in P and S waves, so here is another speed example. Once located, move on to the phenomenon of what causes the pattern of earthquakes on the Earth and so to plate tectonics.
3. Besides studying astronomical bodies, point out how we use the e-m spectrum to study Earth - e.g., uses of the different wavelengths as sensors is now included in the descriptions of real-time weather satellite data https://www.star.nesdis.noaa.gov/GOES/GOES16_CONUS.php.
4. As mentioned above, climate as energy budget of the Earth. HS-ESS2-4
5. Physics has sometimes included buoyancy (net forces - PS2), so could include isostatic effects of granitic & basaltic crust, along with concepts of density.
6. MS-ESS2-6 includes the Coriolis effect, but can also come up discussing rotation in physics (and I wonder how many students really understand it in middle school). Best explained in physics, the Coriolis applications are in Earth science.
7. HS-PS2-4 asks for numerical calculations of the Law of Gravity, and those calculations of a few positions of objects are a normal part of physics. However, the graph of air pressure vs height data from a balloon sounding (daily data easily available http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html
) shows a perfect logarithmic curve of inverse-square force-distance relation - thus showing a continuous "calculation" of the force of gravity on the compressible air molecules.
8. As relevant problem-based learning ("Why are we studying this?"), consideration of the Grand Challenges provides a guiding question of "Where we will get our energy in the future?". This is a valid topic for physics, and many of the solutions involve ESS - solar, wind, tides, geothermal, uranium, etc.
These are all connections we will need to help physics and other teachers see if - for better or worse - they will be the main high school Earth science teachers. We will need to provide all kinds of interesting Earth science to get them out of discipline silos.