Earth 15

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Earth Sciences Models

There are an almost limitless number of types of models. Listed elsewhere at Honeycutt Science, students can discover a variety of model-types used across the natural sciences. In recent years, a robust set of digital and math-based models have been developed to better understand Earth.

An example is The Earth System Modeling Framework (ESMF), ESMF is open-source software for building climate, numerical weather prediction, data assimilation, and other Earth science software applications. This topic explores the variety of model-types, and examines specific model opportunities to better understand Earth. (Also see CESM).

Lesson 1 (or “Day 1”) Material
Lesson 2 (or “Day 2”) Material
Lesson 3 (or “Day 3”) Material
Lesson 4 (or “Day 4”) Material

3.12 What is Math Modeling?

2:37 3D Printing of Furr High School Model

3:58 Groundwater Flow Demonstration Model


Compare Contrast and Debate

Kick-Off Debate Background: 

Models are basically a representation of something people want to know more about. Physical models are probably the easiest to understand. Physical models are sometimes bigger than the actual object being represented – like a model of an atom or a molecule.

Physical models are sometimes smaller than the actual object (or, objects) being represented – like a model of the solar system. Often, models are created “to scale” – which is kind of like shrinking or enlarging the size of the original object.

Other times, models take “artistic liberty” when it comes to the proportions of a model compared to the original object. The latter method often helps illustrate and communicate concepts, but doesn’t show actual size and distance relationships very well.

  • Position A: Students will best learn about the solar system with models that are “to-scale.”
  • Position B: Students will best learn about the solar system with conceptual models that are NOT “to-scale.”

Resources Documents and Links

Special Notes and Notices

Instructor Emphasis:

  • Science & Engineering Practice: Develop and use models.
  • Cross-Cutting Concept: Systems and System Models.

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