|ESS and STEM Literacy|
There are numerous pathways to comprehensive STEM literacy. Earth system science is presented here as one promising route, poised to make a significant positive contribution at all grade levels. ESS touches on all four STEM elements, and delivers accessible, relevant, compelling content that promotes STEM literacy.
Accessible – STEM literacy ranges from the simplest qualitative understanding of a state or process, to a deep quantitative or theoretical understanding of the nature of a phenomenon. The Earth system offers a complete range of processes as STEM examples.
Earth system science education is naturally positioned to make a positive contribution within the scope of many of the previously referenced policy recommendations regarding the need to increase STEM skills. These expanded skills resonate with the mission statement and objectives of ESSE programs and constitute much of what is taught in ESS courses.(Take, for example, the Global Change Courses at the University of Michigan). ESSE courses contribute to STEM literacy in several ways. Survey courses introduce students to basic ESS topics, while senior courses contribute more directly to the training of individuals who will pursue careers in STEM related fields.
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