Terrascope began as an educational component of MIT's Earth System Initiative. Terrascope's goals are: to provide first year students with experiential learning as an alternative to the traditional lecture format of MIT's GIRs .
Terrascope shows that Earth Systems provide a context for solving complex problems and:
A brief history of Terrascope
- Shows the power of integrating science, engineering and the humanities
- Teaches students how to do independent research and work in teams
- Improves all types of communications skills: written, oral, and small team communication
- Creates a community that will nurture and support one other throughout their MIT career.
In 2002, Terrascope incorporated the class Solving Complex Problems (12.000) as a required class for the fall semester and to establish the Terrascope theme for the year. The class (1.016) was initiated for the Spring semester with the goal of introducing engineering and design process using some aspect of fall's topic as context. A more recent introduction to the Terrascope curriculum is Terrascope Radio, which satisfies one of MIT's communications requirements. Terrascope joined MIT's cluster of learning communities when it admitted its first group of freshmen in the fall of 2002.
Terrascope's home is on the first floor of Building 16 where the administrative offices are located as well as the Terrascope learning center (Room 16- 177).
- In 2002-3, students focused on ways to monitor the ecological systems of the rainforest and devise strategies for ensuring its future health. The highlight of the year was a spring break trip to the Brazilian Amazon.
- In 2003-4, students turned their attention to an hot button issue: proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The year culminated in a weeklong visit to Alaska.
- In 2004-5, protecting the delicate ecology of the Galapagos became the focus of attention. Students spent a week in the Galapagos over Spring Break.
- In 2005-6 students developed an early warning system for tsunamis in the Pacific region, followed by a weeklong field visit to Chile.
- In 2006-7 Mission students proposed a redevelopment plan for New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and visited New Orleans over Spring Break.
- In 2007-8, students developed a plan to save the global fisheries, followed by a visit to Iceland
- In 2008-9 students focused on ensuring a supply of fresh water for the North American west for next century and visited Arizona and California.
- In 2009-10 students looked at ways to reduce and sequester greenhouse gases and visited the construction site of the carbon neutral Masdar City of Abu Dhabi.
- In 2010-11, Terrascope examined the problem of providing global food security for the next century and visited a rural part of southern southern India.
- In 2011-12 students developed soutions to deal with global biodiversity loss and visited Costa Rica.