The Earth Systems Georgia Standards of Excellence are designed to continue student investigations that began in K-8 Earth Science and Life Science curricula on the connections among Earth’s systems through Earth history. These systems – the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere – interact through time to produce the Earth’s landscapes, ecology, and resources. These standards engage the students in constructing explanations of phenomena fundamental to the sciences of geology and physical geography, including the early history of the Earth, plate tectonics, landform evolution, the Earth’s geologic record, weather and climate, and the history of life on Earth. Instruction should focus on development of scientific explanations, rather than mere descriptions of phenomena. Case studies, laboratory exercises, maps, and data analysis should be integrated into units. Special attention should be paid to topics of current interest (e.g., recent earthquakes, tsunamis, global warming, price of resources) and to potential careers in the geosciences.