Concept mapping is a visual representation of information that includes concepts and the relationship between concepts. The exercise can encourage overviews or systemic thinking. Such concept maps reveal the inescapable fact that humans are dependent upon the workings of the global ecosystem, or the biosphere. It is also obvious that the humans have developed a capacity to change the dynamics of ecosystems. There are certain specific task to be carried out before understanding the Earth systems through'concept mapping'.
1. Rank the concepts by placing the basic theme at the top of the map and add more specific concepts.
2. Connect the concepts by lines. Label the lines with linking words that define the relationship between the two concepts so that it reads as a statement.
3. Look for cross links between concepts in different sections of the map, and label these. Specific examples of concepts can be attached to the concept labels.
4. The same set of concepts may be represented by many different map forms.
In this lesson, two concepts maps are drawn as examples. These maps are drawn with the following concepts.
1. Photographs from space show Earth dominated by water and shielded by a thin layer of atmosphere. Observations from space support a systematic approach to Earth science. The systematic approach will help us to understand how local activities might produce global effects.
2. The Earth system is composed of four interacting components : atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere. Thus, features on the surface of the Earth modifies and evolves continuously.
3. Global studies utilize new and evolving technology such as satellites and remote sensing instruments.
This is the science of Earth as system composed of interacting components. This approach emphasizes the interactive nature of the components. These components are : lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. They are described as follows :
Lithosphere : This includes physical elements of the Earth's surface, crust, and interior. Processes in the lithosphere include continental drift, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
Hydrosphere : This includes liquid, solid and gaseous form of water on or near the surface of the Earth. They are : water vapour in clouds; ice caps and glaciers; and water in the oceans, river, lakes, and aquifers. Processes in the hydrosphere include the currents. Flow of rivers, evaporation, condensation and precipitation.
Atmosphere : It includes thin layer of gas or air that surrounds the Earth. Processes in the atmosphere include winds, weather, and the exchange of gases with living organisms.
Biosphere : It includes the wealth and diversity of living organisms on the Earth. Processes in the biosphere include life and death, evolution, and extinction.
The concept map 2 explains that in the biosphere, humans developed an industrialized, technology-supported society on the abiotic environment. Economic development with a motive proved to be the link that allowed trade to take place. Trade is a part of the economic life of humans. This is because no two ecosystems are exactly alike. Every ecosystem, located on the Earth's surface is very unique, having its own climate, relief, products, culture, technology, transport facilities, and needs.
In the biosphere, humans are able to exercise their choice. So, the choices we make now determine what our lives and those of our children will be like in the future. For the future, you have to feel that you are capable of doing something, changing something. We must mobilize now to achieve the global possible. If we do, the future can be bright.
This concept map is drawn to trace a food from the consumer back to its origins. Just think a while -What would happen if one of these connections was altered?.
We have sufficient knowledge, skill and resources. The well known phrase, 'think globally, act locally' might be now be reframed to 'act globally, act locally'. We all have to act locally because that is all, most of us can do. In essence, it will only be through local initiative that the international and intergovernmental efforts to manage ecosystems in a sustainable way, can be made to work.