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What Makes EarthComm Unique?

A full-year Earth and Space System Science curriculum developed by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI). The philosophy and design of EarthComm’s Third Edition, Project-Based Earth and Space System Science supports the key conceptual shifts in the Next Generation Science Standards. This Earth-systems science curriculum adopts the philosophy of three-dimensional learning, which is closely related to its original design.

Three-Dimensional, Project-Based Learning

  • Embraces the three-dimensional learning of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), seamlessly integrating:
    • science and engineering practices
    • crosscutting concepts
    • core ideas
  • Each chapter anchored in an interesting and meaningful challenge
  • Promotes systems thinking about matter and energy flow over time and space
  • Interactive Digital Edition

Learning and Practicing Like Engineers, Students:

  • Access real-time data using reputable, current sources.
  • Use the same iterative Engineering Design Cycle employed by geoscientists and engineers.
  • Work collaboratively in groups, engaging in scientific discourse.

Total Support for Teachers

  • Comprehensive Teacher’s Edition
  • Student Hands-On Video Series
  • Robust website filled with student and teacher resources regularly updated by AGI
  • Professional Learning provided by our team of education experts

EarthComm Overview

EarthComm is a comprehensive, project-based, secondary-level Earth and Space science program. It includes student learning materials, teacher resources, teacher-support networks, and assessment tools. EarthComm also features a robust Web site filled with student and teacher resources regularly updated by AGI.

EarthComm promotes systems thinking.
In EarthComm, students learn about the interactions among the various parts of the Earth system by reflecting on the ways in which matter and energy flow through the Earth system, and the different ways in which Earth’s processes occur over time and space.

EarthComm fosters Earth stewardship.
With EarthComm, students discover the wonder and importance of Earth and space science by studying it where it counts—in their community. EarthComm utilizes local and regional issues and concerns to stimulate problem-solving activities and to foster a sense of Earth stewardship by students in their communities.

EarthComm fits your standards.
EarthComm reflects the full scope of Earth and space science content standards for high school—those identified as the Disciplinary Core Ideas in A Framework for K-12 Science Education and those of individual states and districts.


EarthComm Authors

Mark Carpenter
American Geological Institute

Mark Carpenter is an Education Specialist at the American Geological Institute. After receiving a B.S. in Geology from Exeter University, England, he undertook a graduate degree at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier, Canada, where he began designing geology investigations for undergraduate students and worked as an instructor. He has worked in basin hydrology in Ontario, Canada, and studied mountain geology in the Pakistan and Nepal Himalayas. As a designer of learning materials for AGI, he has made educational films to support teachers and is actively engaged in designing inquiry-based activities in Earth system science for students of various ages.

Matthew Hoover
American Geological Institute

Matthew Hoover serves as Education Specialist for the American Geological Institute, developing Earth science educational resources and curriculum programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He received a B.S. in Geology from Boston College, an M.A. in Environmental Policy from George Washington University, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. As a certified teacher, he has taught elementary and middle school Earth, life, and physical sciences. Prior to joining AGI, he worked for NASA’s GLOBE Program, coordinating teacher training and designing environmental science investigations and learning activities for K–12 students.

Edward C. Robeck
American Geological Institute

The diverse positions in education that Ed Robeck has held all contribute to his work at AGI. These have included being a Head Start family educator in his home state of Nebraska, designing science activities to accompany episodes of Reading Rainbow, teaching middle school science, designing the instructional architecture of science programs for major publishers, and being a research assistant during his Ph.D. studies at the University of British Columbia working on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. Prior to joining AGI in 2014, Ed was a professor of science education at Salisbury University for 14 years, during which time he initiated several programs in K–12 STEM education and was granted a Fulbright award to work with teachers in Malaysia on their use of computer technology in science instruction.

Michael Smith
American Geological Institute

Michael Smith was Director of Education at the American Geological Institute in Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. Smith worked as an exploration geologist and hydrogeologist. He began his Earth Science teaching career with Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA in 1988 and most recently taught Earth Science at the Charter School of Wilmington, DE. He earned a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh’s Cognitive Studies in Education Program and joined the faculty of the University of Delaware School of Education in 1995. Dr. Smith received the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award for Pennsylvania from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers in 1991, served as Secretary of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, and is a reviewer for Science Education and The Journal of Research in Science Teaching. He worked on the Delaware Teacher Standards, Delaware Science Assessment, National Board of Teacher Certification, and AAAS Project 2061 Curriculum Evaluation programs.

John Southard
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

John Southard received his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960 and his doctorate in geology from Harvard University in 1966. After a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology, he joined the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is currently a Professor of Geology Emeritus. He was awarded the MIT School of Science teaching prize in 1989 and was one of the first cohorts of first MacVicar Fellows at MIT, in recognition of excellence in undergraduate teaching. He has taught numerous undergraduate courses in introductory geology, sedimentary geology, field geology, and environmental Earth Science both at MIT and in Harvard’s adult education program. He was editor of the Journal of Sedimentary Petrology from 1992 to 1996, and he continues to do technical editing of scientific books and papers for SEPM, a professional society for sedimentary geology. Dr. Southard received the 2001 Neil Miner Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.



This document charts the alignment between EarthComm® and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Click here to view the document.

NGSS Alignment Badge - Practices, Content, Crosscutting