2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


SMITH, Michael J., 403 West Chestnut Hill Road, Newark, DE 19713, michaeljsmith99@comcast.net

The American Geological Institute (AGI) EarthComm program is designed to build student interest and confidence while investigating the geosciences where it makes most sense to students – in their communities. Developed through funding from the National Science Foundation, EarthComm makes students investigate a problem as a researcher does, looking at all angles, developing hypotheses and tests, drawing upon prior knowledge, using the power of collaborative thinking , and applying and building problem-solving skills. Through an inquiry approach, EarthComm students learn how to develop researchable questions, design and conduct investigations, collect and analyze data, and share findings. By modeling methods and approaches of professional scientists, EarthComm improves upon didactic approaches towards learning. Students are exposed to Earth systems science concepts while developing the skills to plan and conduct their own investigations. As a result, students are better prepared to learn and understand core science material and improve their science literacy, one of the major goals of the AAAS Benchmarks and NRC National Science Education Standards. Students also develop higher level cognitive processing skills, developing their capacity to become critical thinkers in all disciplines. EarthComm provides descriptive outlines of the inquiry process skills students need to conduct their own research in the geosciences. These skills are developed through scaffolded activities and the presentation of scientific phenomena. This poster session will feature stories from EarthComm teachers, who will share the success and challenges of implementing this standards-based inquiry program in their schools and communities.