How Does Earth Work? Physical Geology and the Process of Science: Pearson New International Edition

Gary Smith / Aurora Pun  
Total pages
November 2013
Related Titles

Product detail

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How Does Earth Work? Physical Geology and the Process of Science: Pearson New International Edition
90.00 approx. 7-9 days


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Free evaluation copy for lecturers


For introductory courses in physical geology.

Encouraging students to observe, discover, and visualize, How Does Earth Work? Second Edition engages students with an inquiry-based learning method that develops a solid interpretation of introductory geology. Like geology detectives, students learn to think through the scientific process and uncover evidence that explains earth’s mysteries.


Integrated learning tools facilitate the inquiry-based learning method, beginning with observations and questions.

  • In the Field: Chapters open with an essay that places a curious investigator in a realistic field or lab setting to observe and ask questions about geological phenomena.
  • Inquiry-based learning method is further illustrated throughout the chapter with headings in the form of questions that are then wrapped up in section-endingPutting It Together boxes.
  • Plate tectonics: To encourage inquiry and application of scientific reasoning, Smith and Pun establish an understanding of the nature of geologic materials and phenomena before fully developing the theory by which they are explained. Observations are first in scientific methodology, so when introducing plate tectonics in Chapter 1, the emphasis is on the general phenomena at plate boundaries.

The inquiry-based learning method is further developed as students discover the process of science as it is applied to the key concepts in geology.

  • How Do We Know section in each chapter illustrates the scientific method in practice by detailing a scientific study to show how knowledge of the chapter content was obtained.
  • Real connections: Integrated real-world connections link topics to issues of societal concern or relevant experience to increase appreciation of the value of discovering science.  
  • Plate tectonics: The background introduced in Chapter 1 permits integration of plate tectonics into the chapters that follow, culminate in thorough development of the theory in Chapter 12 (after students have a firm grasp of the geological materials and structural features required to understand the theory) instead of simply presenting salient features as undisputed fact.

Artful visualizations enhance the inquiry-based learning method.

  • Art for Observation: Annotated illustrations with thoughtful descriptions help students visually observe the hypotheses that culminate throughout the inquiry-based learning method.
  • Active Art: A narrator walks students through highly interactive Active Art animations on the Companion Website, which is accessible via an access card bound into new books, or for purchase at
  • Plate tectonics:  Figure 12.43 offers a dynamic illustration of plate motions through geologic time and is accompanied by an Active Art animated tutorial online.


  • A Companion Website furthers student Investigation at
    • Extension Modules facilitate textbook brevity by offering supplemental feature topics some background material and more detailed examples.
    • Active Art animations, allow students to visualize and master some of the most difficult concepts in the course.
    • myeBook version of the text integrates the multimedia platforms of this dynamic learning program.
    • Access codes are bound into new copies of the textbook, or may be purchased stand-alone at
  • Instructor's Resource Center provides you with all the tools you need for teaching at
    • All of the line art, tables, and photos from the text in .jpg files.

    • PowerPoints for lecture outlines, Classroom Response System quizzing, or art and animations
    • Art Animations from textbook references for classroom projection.
    • Images of Earth photo gallery
    • Test Item File in Microsoft Word now includes new inquiry-based learning questions provided by Jennifer Cole of Northeastern University.
    • Instructor's Resource Guide in Microsoft Word helps engage any class size in inquiry-based active learning with:
      • Expanded Pathway to Learning: A graphic summary of the key concepts in each numbered section of the chapter, including where to include Extension Modules, if desired.
      • Authors’ Intent: A short essay that explains the authors’ choices of content and approach.
      • Learning Outcomes: A table that links the learning outcomes listed on the chapter-opening pages with the sections of the chapter and to the questions that appear at the end of the chapter.  This tool permits you, at a glance, to see how to assign each chapter in order to emphasize the student learning outcomes that are most important to you.  The table is accompanied by a short explanation of how the chapter links to other chapters in the book, and strategies for selecting what you wish to include in your course.
      • Animations for You and Your Students: An annotated listing of the animations from the Geoscience Animation Library that you may wish to include in your classroom presentation, and assign to your students to view at
      • Active Learning Ideas: This section provides many Think (Write)-Pair-Share prompts and at least one in-class lecture tutorial exercise, written and used by the authors, which are ready for you to take into your classroom.  Additional links take you to online resources for additional classroom activities and projects.
      • End-of-Chapter Questions and Answers: Author-constructed responses to the “Confirm Your Knowledge” and “Confirm Your Understanding” questions located at the end of each chapter of How Does Earth Work?

New to this Edition

  • A new Chapter 21, “Global Warming: Real-time Change in the Earth System” focuses on why and how we study climate change.
  • A new Pathway to Learning feature opens each chapter with a visual guide to the questions students will ask in order to achieve the set learning outcomes of the chapter.
  • Student animation tutorials and Extension Modules are now offered on the Companion Website and embedded within an myeBook so students may easily navigate activities.
  • One of several new Extension Modules, “The Future of Oil,” enables students to investigate this natural resource.
  • A handsomely revised art program and overall design, as well as updated and revised content throughout, incorporate user feedback and create a welcome revision.

Table of Contents


1.    Why Study Earth?
2.    Minerals: Building Blocks of the Planet
3.    Rocks and Rock-Forming Processes
4.    Formation of Magma and Igneous Rocks
5.    Formation of Sediment and Sedimentary Rocks
6.    Formation of Metamorphic Rocks
7.    Earth Materials as Time Keepers
8.    Journey to the Center of Earth
9.    Making Earth
10.    Motion Inside Earth
11.    Deformation of Rocks
12.    Global Tectonics:  Plates and Plumes
13.    Tectonics and Surface Relief
14.    Soil Formation and Landscape Stability
15.    Mass Movements: Landscapes in Motion
16.    Streams:  Flowing Water Shapes the Landscape
17.    Water Flowing Underground
18.    Glaciers: Cold-Climate Sculptors of Continents
19.    Shorelines: Changing Landscapes Where Land Meets Sea
20.    Wind: A Global Geologic Process
21.    Global Warming: Real-time Change in the Earth System