2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 32
Presentation Time: 6:00 PM-8:00 PM


CERVATO, Cinzia1, CLOUGH, Michael2, COLBERT, James T.3, DOMINO, Lynda4, OLSON, Joanne K.2 and WILSON, David B.4, (1)Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State Univ, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, (2)Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, Iowa State Univ, N157 Lagomarcino, Ames, IA 50011, (3)Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, Iowa State Univ, 113 Bessey, Ames, IA 50011, (4)Dept. of History, Iowa State Univ, 625 Ross, Ames, IA 50011, cinzia@iastate.edu

Studies have shown that students often opt out of post-secondary science education because they wrongly see science as a field devoid of social interaction and creativity. This project aims at ‘re-humanizing' science content using short stories to teach science content while accurately portraying the nature of science. Initial assessment of the historical science short stories in introductory geoscience classes for non-science majors at Iowa State University has shown a statistically significant improvement in students' understanding of the nature of science. The historical and contemporary science short stories teach fundamental science ideas and draw students' attention to the nature of science using embedded comments and questions that explicitly draw students' attention to the concepts and how science is a creative and exciting human endeavor. This project is an inter-disciplinary collaboration between scientists, science educators, and a science historian, and has led initially to the development of stories on plate tectonics and geologic time, with focus on the age of the Earth and the measurement of geologic time. After the initial testing and revision, the stories will be available on the CHRONOS web site (www.chronos.org) among other online resources on geologic time and stratigraphy, including the pdf file of a History of the Earth poster that includes the 2004 Global Time Scale and global paleogeographic maps for the Phanerozoic.

CHRONOS is an NSF-funded geoinformatics project dedicated to the development of a network of data and tools for sedimentary geology and paleobiology and to partnering with organizations and educators to develop a viable, IT-based education and outreach program.