Earth & Space Science: Relationship with STEM

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

Learn what earth and space science is and how that fits into the wider category of STEM subjects. Take a quiz and see how well you understand the relationship between the two.

What Is Earth & Space Science?

Earth and space science (or ESS), in a nutshell, is about Earth and its place within the solar system and universe. It includes the study of the Earth, including its land, oceans, atmosphere, and all the life that lives there from humans to animals to plants. It includes the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the rock cycle, and anything that gradually affects the Earth over time.

Volcanoes are one example of a topic that puts the Earth into earth science.
Volcanoes are one example of a topic that puts the earth into earth science

But that's the 'Earth' part of the earth and space science. The 'space' parts talks about the Earth's position in the solar system, and it also explores the solar system and universe as a whole. Understanding the wider universe helps us get a sense for Earth's place.

Earth and space science also involves studying the solar system.
Earth and space science also involves studying the solar system

When studying earth and space science, you might find yourself talking about the deepest oceans or the farthest reaches of the galaxy. You might be talking about plants and animals or humans blasting off into space in rockets. It covers a wide variety of topics.

Earth & Space Science & STEM

Earth and space science is most certainly a STEM subject. But what exactly is STEM? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It's a way of collectively describing all of these kinds of subjects, because they are considered really important for the future of Western countries. When people talk about STEM, they're usually talking about the importance of teaching these subjects.

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics might seem like a wide variety of unrelated topics. The truth is, putting them together makes a lot of sense. Science is a systematic study of the natural world. Technology is using our scientific knowledge for practical purposes, like building physical objects to complete tasks. Engineering is involved with designing, building, and using this technology, including engines, contraptions, and machines. Finally, mathematics is the study of numbers, quantities, and space. This last one might seem unrelated, but mathematics is used in science to explain the world and is used in technology and engineering to make sure that the things we build will work the way we expect. All these subjects would be impossible without mathematics.

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