Apeiron: Engage Students in Earth and Ocean Sciences

Apeiron: Engage Students in Earth and Ocean Sciences

Giuseppe Manzella (ETT SpA, Genova, Italy) and Alessandro Manzella (ETT SpA, Genova, Italy)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJKSR.2015100107
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Anaxagoras believed that all things existed in a boundless form. Ápeiron begun to rotate under the control of Nous (Mind) and the rotation caused the universe to break up into fragments, each containing parts of all other things. Ápeiron is the interdependence of humans and natural environment. A general understanding on human influences on earth system is necessary. Knowledge Building allow to analyse problems, sifting irrelevant from relevant. The ability to solve a problem, to write a coherent paragraph, to utter a cogent statement are soft skills supporting sustainable development. Soft skills must be tempered with the ability to integrate knowledge from various sources into a coherent whole. Students, professors and researchers interaction improve personal comprehension. Students must be encouraged to debate ideas and the way to present them. They are asked to look for and develop bases for shared understanding. In this way they participated to the definition of a knowledge building process as a social epistemology: from personal beliefs to social shared vision.
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The title of the paper comes from the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, who believed that all things existed at the beginning in a boundless, primordial form, that is ápeiron (unlimited, infinite, or indefinite in Greek). Ápeiron had begun to rotate rapidly under the control of a godlike Nous (Mind), and the great speed of the rotation caused the universe to break up into many fragments. However, since all individual things had originated from the same ápeiron, all things must contain parts of all other things. In some sense, the title contain the main concept on the interdependence of humans and the natural environment that make necessary to have a general understanding on how anthropogenic activities have changed the earth system and how they are impacting the climate cycles.

Media, public and private debates are presenting many points of view on environmental protection, sustainable development and other important issues that are influencing our daily life. ‘Public engagement with science’ has become an almost obligatory passage point for science policy in many countries, even if its substantive forms and meanings still need development. There is a strong need to widen the bridge between science and society, in order to have scientifically literate persons capable to:

  • Understand experiment and reasoning on basic scientific facts and their meaning

  • Ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences

  • Describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena

  • Read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and must be engaged in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions

  • Identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed

  • Evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it

  • Pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately

During the last decades, scientists and educators have revised the notion of ‘science literacy’ to include more contemporary, systems-oriented views of the natural world, leading to scientific literacy programs for the ocean, climate, atmosphere, criosphere, and so on: in other words the Earth Science. According to the Earth Science Literacy Initiative, an Earth-science-literate person:

  • Understands the fundamental concepts of Earth’s many systems

  • Knows how to find and assess scientifically credible information about Earth

  • Communicates about Earth science in a meaningful way

  • Is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding Earth and its resources

As element of the Earth Science Literacy, Ocean Literacy is further defined as “understanding our impact on the ocean and the ocean's impact on us” (NMEA, 2010). Similarly, the climate literacy website includes a guiding principle for decision making; “humans can take action to reduce climate change and its impacts” (USGCRP, 2009).

Each type of Earth systems literacy then defines the concepts students should understand upon graduation from high school. The development and continual improvement of ideas (Knowledge Building) is of value to all societies: its goal is to advance the frontiers of knowledge as perceived by the various component of the societies.

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