What Are the Five Branches of Earth Science?
By: Rachel Mork
What are the five branches of Earth Science? What should your child know about each of these branches of Earth Science? How can you help your child understand the basics of this discipline?
We study science to understand how the world around us works and how to better our lives. Some fields of science can seem very dull and academic to children. By pointing out the practical, everyday uses for Earth Science and its branches, you'll encourage children to see beyond their textbooks and discover the interesting lessons science has to offer.
Astronomy: Astronomy is the study of the universe. You and your child may enjoy studying the solar system, space travel, the possibility of life on other planets and how our planet may one day use resources from nearby planets, moons or asteroids. You can use a telescope at home or visit Web sites for huge telescopes like the Hubble station to look at distant astronomical objects. You can also look up some of the things that space technology has brought to our everyday lives, such as advanced computers and memory foam mattresses.
Geology: Geology is the study of the Earth's substance. While teaching your child about the layers of the Earth's crust, you can explore theories about past civilizations and how the Earth was formed. Kids love to look for fossils or go to sites where they can see the actual rock layers. You can explain how rocks are used for fuel and building materials, how humans have mined the Earth for resources and how we are now learning new ways to use those resources.
Meteorology: Meteorology is the study of the Earth's climate, atmosphere and weather. Kids love learning about natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and other powerful weather events. Your child may be interested in experimenting with a wind sock, kite or rain measuring-device; she may also find old-fashioned weather predictors interesting.
Oceanography: Oceanography is the study of the Earth's oceans. Kids are amazed to learn about the terrain underneath the surface of oceans, especially when they learn about the mountain ranges, valleys and trenches deep under the sea. You can explore the fascinating wildlife, the challenges of ocean travel, the changes in eco-systems related to human activity and the vast resources available under those blue waves. Talk with your child about how we need to protect the ocean and the animals in it for future generations. Explain how fishing provides food and study the many ways that ocean plants are used in manufacturing.
Glaciology: Glaciology is the study of glaciers, massive rivers of ice found in the coldest places on Earth. When studying glaciers, you can talk about how glaciers and ice ages have affected the formation of the Earth's surface and how glaciers interact with other elements of our delicate global ecosystem. You may want to read up on the things scientists are learning from ice core samples taken from glaciers and the predictions made regarding the melting of glaciers.
All five branches of Earth Science are easily related to children of all ages. Pique your child's interest and you'll find many topics to study together.