Montana State University

ERTH 591-803: Teaching Middle School Earth System Science

The Office of Continuing Education at Extended University offers both face-to-face and online learning opportunities:

  • Degree Programs
  • Certificate Programs
  • Professional Development
  • Summer Field Study Programs
  • Study Abroad
  • Leisure and Lifelong Learning
  • Youth Programs

Feb 17-Apr 20, 2014
Credit: 3 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $835.20
Instructor(s): Gerald "Jerry" Nelson

Restricted to students in National Teachers Enhancement Network

Register Online

Course Description

This course is taught in conjunction with the Earth System Science Alliance. ESSEA has a large repository of modules focused on the subject of earth system science. All modules use problem based learning to explore the events and interactions between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. The middle school course is composed of 3 modules plus an introduction module. Teachers utilize problem based learning to study both event to sphere interactions as well as sphere to sphere interactions and how one interaction can lead to other interactions.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit course.


Gerald "Jerry" Nelson, PhD. (Email: is a geology/geography professor at Casper College in Wyoming. Jerry was the Upper Grades team leader for the Network Montana Earth Systems Science Curriculum Project, helped write Wyoming's Earth Science standards, and was formerly Director and Curator of the Tate Geological Museum, which features many Wyoming dinosaurs.


Bachelor's degree, experience teaching hands-on science.

Target Audience

Teachers interested in Earth System Science and problem based learning.

Time Commitment:

10-12 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

 Program Fee $25.50
 Computer Fee$10.20
 Distributed Learning Fee$0.00

A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

Computer Requirements:

  • Computer running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or newer or Mac OS X.5 (Leopard) or higher
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Internet access

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Lisa Brown

How to Register

Register Online

Campus ToolsStudent E-MailDesire2LearnMy InfoMy MSU PortalMy Passwords