2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 16
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


BEHLING, Robert E., Geology and Geography, West Virginia Univ, 425 White Hall, P.O. Box 6300, Morgantown, WV 26506-6300, HEMLER, Deb, Science and Mathematics, Fairmont State College, 1201 Locust Ave, Fairmont, WV 26554, REPINE, Tom, West Virginia Geol and Economic Survey, PO Box 879, Morgantown, WV 26507 and RENTON, John J., Geology and Geography, West Virginia Univ, 1424 Dogwood Ave, Morgantown, WV 26505-2310, rbehling@wvu.edu

The summer of 2002 marked the beginning of the second decade of RockCamp for teachers in West Virginia. This experience brings together professional geologists from the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey and from the state Higher Education system to share their passion for geology with K-12 teachers through a C-cubed model of Constructivism. Teachers are engaged in a sequence of field-based situations and are asked to COMPARE and CONTRAST their individual and collective observations. They will then be required to CONNECT these observations to solving problems which relate to the geology of West Virginia. The result is constructivism through the three C's: Compare, Contrast, Connect.

Over 200 RockCamp participants (12-20 at a time) have gathered as a learning community to experience a sequence of events designed for adults who could have followed a path to become professional geologists if circumstances had been different when they were in college. The first step is a carefully designed two-week experience. In subsequent years, there are numerous opportunities to participate in a multifaceted and sustained professional development program. Some have been engaged in seven additional designed events.

We stress that this is not a program designed to encourage K-12 teachers to change career paths. Indeed, none has. But we find that RockCamp graduates share their enhanced enthusiasm for geology with their students through lesson plans and field projects. In classrooms throughout West Virginia, year in and year out, students are asked to Compare and Contrast such things as: White Minerals; Black Rocks; Slopes that Go or Stay; Mine Water Treated and Untreated; Deep Mining and Surface Mining. Additionally, there are global issues: how citizens elsewhere in the United States or the world will have to respond to Climate Change, Drought and Flood, Vulcanism, and Earthquakes.

The foundation for study is based upon the concept of four major elements as have been identified by many cultures over centuries of thought and observations relating to Mother Earth: those elements, Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire are as useful today in teaching as they were to the philosophers many milennia ago.

The students, we believe, will thus be better prepared to Connect past classroom experiences when searching for solutions to the very real geologic problems they will face in the future.