Skills Building

A practical guide and video tutorial review of some of the content and skills-building techniques
utiltized throughout the Earth Science and geoscience courses

Colleges and Employers seek students with SKILLS.


Colleges seek students with SKILLS, and that means:   


  • Being able to communicate your knowledge and understanding very well – especially in person.
  • Having the self-discipline to   
    • create an environment helpful to learning, and
    • making yourself do the active study necessary to learn
  • attend every class, on time, and not missing any instruction for ‘breaks’
  • being willing to    1) recognize, and then    2) take advantage of extra help opportunities to improve your skills and understanding as soon as you need it
  • becoming an advocate yourself by openly discussing concerns with adults, parents, and teachers
  • planning your time effectively to complete and then submit assignments by a deadline.
  • remaining consistently organized with    1) your materials,    2) your time, and    3) your planning




It’s not just what you know, it’s how well you’re able to communicate it.






Missed instructional time hinders academic progress

Absences, bathroom breaks, 'trips' to the nurse, arriving late to instruction - regardless of reason, necessary or not, missed instruction adds up and compounds the difficulties of students to achieve higher learning.




‘Study’ is an Action… a verb.



Reading is not studying – reading is reading.  


‘Active study’ means that the student should be able to hand you the evidence of participation in learning.  The student has re-written and paraphrased notes.  The student has created a song.  Studying means the student is producing something and in doing so, is actively processing information in such a way that the material can be organized and re-organized in the long-term, not just the short-term memory. 

Homework can be a method of active study, but active study does not end there.


Studying generally means taking all resources of information (Text Assignments, PowerPoint Notes, classroom diagrams, handwritten notes, ESRTs, handouts, lab notes, etc.) and compiling the information in a new way – one that makes the most sense to the student studying.  This takes time.  


Learning takes time


Some students create concept maps, study cards, self-made study-guides, write songs, poems, create dioramas and mini-books to consolidate and organize the information in a new way – writing, re-writing, paraphrasing, and using nuggets along the way.  



Managing time effectively


Time is valuable – there is never enough of it.  


Knowing this, we can anticipate what we want to accomplish vs. what we need to accomplish in the time available.  This is called planning.  Materials helpful in planning and managing time are the classic visual organizers (calendars, day-planners). 



Meeting deadlines is crucial to success.  


Students who are able to plan ahead and organize themselves well, can and do regularly meet deadlines.  These are the students who are more successful in achieving their college and career goals.  Think of our class time - students who regularly submit HW ‘before the late bell’ are students who have successfully achieved this college-and-career skill.  


  • We start each class by copying the HW board and discussing the assignments.  Add further hints and notes for yourself as we go over the assignments with more in-depth explanations.  Your parents may ask to see this evidence in your assignment pad for each day.  Show them that you are regularly practicing this process skill! 
  • Begin assignments the very day they appear on the HW board.
  • Create an Overall Plan for assignments (in all your classes).  Ask and answer the following questions of yourself:  What HWs are due on what dates?  How many days does that provide you to complete each assignment well?  For each assignment, how much time will you require to complete the assignment well?  What other obligations do you have that need to be remembered and scheduled (sports, home responsibilities, etc.)? 
  • On your calendar, schedule a designated time and place to work on each of the assignments – creating tasks for each time so that you can monitor your progress and know where you left off previously.  




Success comes from being able to resist temptation


  • Create an environment that will help you to remain focused on your task at hand.  Remove from the room all possible devices that have been proven to actively distract from focus – telephones, smartphones, T.V., radio, television, iPods, computers (i.e. anything of interest)
  • Have all your required materials at hand.  This is where your Earth Science Materials Pouch will come in handy - colored pencils, highlighters, graphite pencils, pencil sharpener, ink pens (at least two colors), white-out, small & larger sticky notes, etc.  While these items are not necessary to learn, they can make the act of studying more interesting – as we’ve practiced in HW assignments and classroom lessons.  The less frequently you ‘have to get up to get something’, the less likely you are to be diverted from your task.
  • During your study time, switch back and forth in studying different material and different subjects - everything you study is connected.  Look for and identify how they are connected and learning will feel easier. 
  • Review your Overall Plan.  List on one of your sticky notes the tasks you need to complete in this study session. 
  • Once each is completed, cross each off your list.  Show this list to Mom and Dad when they ask – and the finished products of your study.

Earth Science Prep Content

    • The Scientific Method                                                                            [BozemanScience Video's/YouTube]        10 min
    •           ** Scroll to page bottom for video                                  3 min      
    • Earth at night seen from space ISS (HD 1080p) ORIGINAL                [sebastiansz/YouTube]             3 min 
    • NASA’s Earth Minute: Mission to Earth?                                              [NASA EarthMinute/YouTube]                    1 min               

    • Generic Science Significant figures & Measurements                           [EarthScience Education Channel/YouTube]             20 min 
    • Multiplying and dividing with significant figures | Decimals | Pre-Algebra | Khan Academy                10 min 
    • Scientific Notation: Introduction                                                            [Tyler DeWitt/YouTube]                  14 min 
    • Metric System: Units of distance/4th grade/Khan Academy 

    • Latitude, Longitude & Time Zones clip xvid                                      [Mr. Shadirjob/YouTube]              2 min 
    • World’s Most Asked Questions: How Old Is The Earth?                    [SciShow/YouTube]             2.5 min 
    • Electromagnetic Spectrum Basics                                                        [NASA Science/NewGuardNetwork/YouTube]     35 min
    • Surface of the Sun as you’ve never seen it                                          [SpaceRip/YouTube]                3 min 

    • Big Idea 1: Earth Scientists Study Our Planet                                        [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 2: Earth is 4.6 Billion Years Old                                              [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 3: Earth Systems Interact                                                         [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 4: Earth Continually Changes                                                  [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 5: Earth is the Water Planet                                                      [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 6: Life Evolves on Earth                                                          [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 7: Earth Provides Resources                                                    [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 8: Natural Hazards Affect Humans                                          [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min 
    • Big Idea 9: Humans Change Earth                                                         [American Geosciences Institute/YouTube] 5 min


    • Temperature                                                                                   [Bozeman Science/YouTube]          4:30 min 
    • Air Pressure Explained             (**first minute only)                             [Sc1648/YouTube] 4:30 min 
    • Density – Animated Presentation                                                  [Animation Devastation/YouTube]             4:30 min (mute) 
    • Weather Instruments                                                                      [Michael Sammartano/YouTube]             3 min 
    • Tempest in a Teapot: How Convection Brews a Storm                  [n3susn3b2/YouTube]                 3:40 min 
    • Atmospheric Circulation                                                                  [Mr. Smajda’s Class Video’s/YouTube]           23 min 
    • Private Pilot Tutorial 11: Weather Theory (Part 1 of 3)                  [Pilot Training System/YouTube]             20 min 
    • Private Pilot Tutorial 11: Weather Theory (Part 2 of 3)                 [Pilot Training System/YouTube]               20 min 
    • Private Pilot Tutorial 11: Weather Theory (Part 3 of 3)                  [Pilot Training System/YouTube]               20 min 
    • Aviation Weather Ground School                                                    [Walter Aviation/YouTube]              1 hr 
    • Why is high pressure associated with fair, clear skies while low pressure systems are associated with low pressure?         [Fox9Now/KNIN/YouTube]  3:30 min 
    • Essential Astronomy: The Electromagnetic Spectrum (720p)        [Documentary Tube/YouTube]              29 min 
    • What Makes Wind?                                                                         [The KidsKnowIt Network/YouTube]               1:30 min 
    • Why Does The Wind Blow?                                                            [It’s OK To Be Smart/YouTube]               3 min


"Not Drawn To Scale"

    • Satellites are used to gather data about our changing Earth .                                    [NASA Know Your Earth]
    • Powers of Ten                                                                                                            [Davidson/FSU]
    • Space Science Games                                                                                                 [BBC]
    • Earth and Sky                                                                                                             [EarthSky]
    • A Matter of Scale                                                                                                       [Windows to the Universe]

Newton’s Law of Gravitation 


      • Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation - Science in a Minute           [ProjectSTEPUC/YouTube] 1.5 min 
      • NASA’s Earth Minute: Scale In The Sky                                             [NASA EarthMinute/YouTube] 1 min 


    • Plate Boundary Overview                                                                  [Science619/YouTube]     5 min
    • Geologic Glossary                                                                              [USGS]