Themes in Global Systems Science

Student Books and Themes

The target audience for this course encompasses the entire range of high school students from grades nine through twelve. The series of Student Books may be used in a one-year integrated science course; or individual guides may be incorporated into existing high school biology, physics, chemistry, Earth science, or social studies.

The nine Student Books are divided into Four Themes:

Theme 1. A New World View

A New World View introduces all of the other Guides in the Global Systems Science series, and presents four key ideas that thread through the entire course: First, the Earth has tremendously diverse environments, yet it is a single planet that we all call “home.” Second, we can better understand the Earth if we think of it in terms of systems. Third, everything is connected to everything else. And fourth, the goal of global studies is to find out what we can do to sustain life on Planet Earth-now and in the generations to come. To learn about the value of laboratory work for investigating Earth systems, students design and conduct controlled experiments to determine how to sustain life inside a terrarium.

Theme 2. Key Global Problems

Three Guides in the GSS series are concerned with environmental problems which affect the entire planet-climate change, depletion of the world’s ozone layer, and loss of species. These issues were selected because they are clearly global in nature, each represents a potential threat to life and prosperity on planet Earth, and each illuminates important aspects of the interaction between human activities and Earth systems.This theme includes the GSS books:

Theme 3. Fundamental Earth Systems

The three student guides which make up this portion of the Global Systems Science course put global environmental problems into context by focusing on the natural systems within which human activities occur. Such understanding is essential if we are to grapple with key global problems, and eventually find ways for humans to prosper and thrive without diminishing the rich diversity of life on Planet Earth.This theme includes the GSS books:

Theme 4. Underlying Causes and Possible Solutions

Two aspects of our modern age stand out as possibly the most important underlying causes of global environmental change-the rapidly growing human population, and the ways in which people use natural resources for energy. Yet within both areas there is reason to hope that intelligent decisions by individuals can reduce the impact of these problems and lead to a habitable world for future generations.This theme includes the GSS books: