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Investigating Earth Systems (IES) was developed by the American Geosciences Institute with support from the National Science Foundation and the AGI Foundation. IES relies on the strict criteria and standards of the NSF development process. The curriculum has undergone an iterative process of writing, classroom testing, and evaluation as well as review by expert panels at each stage of the process.

Project-Based Learning

Photographs and questions at the beginning of each Investigating Earth Systems module capture students’ interest and help them to relate the importance of the Earth-science concepts to their lives. Each investigation also begins with a Key Question that encourages students to think about what they already know and share their ideas with the class. The last investigation of the module provides an opportunity to “put it all together.” Students apply what they have learned in previous investigations to solve a practical problem or complete a group project.

Active Learning

Just like real geoscientists, Investigating Earth Systems students learn about the Earth system by doing investigations. They work collaboratively in groups to explore questions, design and conduct investigations, collect and interpret data, use evidence to create explanations, and apply mathematical reasoning. Throughout each module, students are continuous reminded of the science practices that they are using, and at the end of each investigation, students are asked to reflect on the scientific inquiry practices they used. The Digging Deeper read sections come only after students have been actively engaged in exploring a concept.

Technology-Enhanced Learning

Kit components are identified, designed, and tested over time to meet the needs of the activities specific to the Investigating Earth Systems program. Many of the investigations can be adapted for use with our einstein™ Tablet+ or Fourier data loggers and sensors. The American Geosciences Institute, a non-profit organization that represents more than 250,000 scientists worldwide, also maintains a robust website,, that makes the most accurate, up-to-date information available to students, teachers, and the public.

Total Support

It’s About Time® is committed to providing comprehensive, ongoing professional-development support services for districts or schools implementing Investigating Earth Systems. Our highly experienced implementation specialists will lead workshops to get you started with teaching Investigating Earth Systems, follow-up sessions that provide additional content and pedagogical support, as well as online and onsite mentoring. Walkthrough videos are also available for three modules. In addition, the American Geosciences Institute sponsors an Earth Science Week and provides a comprehensive, up-to-date web site for support, real-time data, and additional resources (