Cordilleran Section - 97th Annual Meeting, and Pacific Section, American Association of Petroleum Geologists (April 9-11, 2001)

Paper No. 0
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-5:00 PM


JAGODA, Susan K., Lawrence Hall of Science, Univ of California, 1 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720-5200,

When a geologist encounters a problem such as determining the origin of a rock, she first observes the rock’s properties. She uses communication skills to describe the rock. Through comparisons with other rocks she organizes her observations and looks for relationships that will help her infer the rock’s origins. She applies her knowledge as she continues exploring the earth’s crust.

Children follow a similar path in their study of earth science. At grades Pre–2, observations and comparisons of rock properties and words to describe properties occupy the youngster’s mind. Grade 3–4 students exercise their organizing skills as they seriate, group, and classify earth materials. Grade 5–6 students can identify relationships between earth materials, such as the relationship between stream slope and erosion. Students in grades 7 and 8 use their prior knowledge to make inferences about past environments of the Colorado Plateau area and the formation of the Grand Canyon.

Over the past 10 years, curriculum developers at the Lawrence Hall of Science have worked with students, teachers and scientists in the creation of the Full Option Science System (FOSS), an NSF-funded hands-on science program for grades K-8. The modules and courses that comprise FOSS are organized under four strands: Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Scientific Reasoning and Technology. FOSS correlates well with the National Science Standards and reflects the spirit and intent of the AAAS Benchmarks.

The modules and courses in the FOSS Earth Science strand were designed to engage K–8 students in earth science investigations and study that are cognitively appropriate and which build on prior knowledge. Through hands-on investigations, multimedia, and literature, students increase their awareness and gain knowledge about the planet on which they live. Ongoing professional development also plays a role in the success of FOSS and has included weeklong FOSS Earth History workshop at Grand Canyon for teachers and teacher trainers.