Southeastern Section - 50th Annual Meeting (April 5-6, 2001)

Paper No. 0
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM


ANSLEY, Jane E. and ROSS, Robert M., Paleontological Rsch Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850-1313,

Regional and local geology provide concrete examples of generalized Earth science concepts. However, there are very few regional syntheses of knowledge available for teachers and students that present the geologic history of a multistate geologic region in a clear, concise, approachable manner, and that make sense of the distribution of rocks, landforms, and natural resources. Popular geology literature and discussions of local geology in the classroom often focus on a particular state or concentrated area. Focusing on too small an area, teachers and students often fail to comprehend how their local geology fits into a regional geologic picture and historical geologic context, which often entail large-scale tectonic processes and structures. The Paleontological Research Institution has created a model for incorporating regional and local geology into standards-based curricula for middle school Earth science as well as high school and college geology based on "The Teacher-Friendly Guide to the Geology of the Northeastern U.S." This model suggests an innovative method applicable to all regions of the United States in which teachers continue to present classic geology topics such as rocks, minerals, fossils, topography, and natural resources, but make sense of their spatial distribution in particular areas through reference to regional tectonics and geologic history. This leads to enhanced understanding of the relationships between Earth science topics, the processes that shaped a particular region, how a region records geologic time, and why seemingly disparate geologic features occur in the same region. By understanding the basic concepts of the geologic history of any region, students and teachers have the tools to make better sense of local geology. Examples of regional and local geology in the classroom not only energize students and encourage an applied understanding of Earth science, but also facilitate observation-driven, inquiry-based teaching.