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

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


DAVIES, Caroline P., Department of Geosciences, Univ of Missouri-Kansas City, 420 Flarsheim Hall, 5110 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110, daviesc@umkc.edu

The University of Missouri-Kansas City's Department of Geosciences developed and revised course curriculum, teaching strategies, and enhanced undergraduate research by integrating urban environments through the support of NASA's Earth System Science Education Program (ESSSE 21). In an era of greatly expanding urban landscapes and the need to increase student engagement in Earth sciences, most universities and students are located within urban areas. The UMKC Geosciences team developed curricula to make strong connections with relevance to students' sense of place, the urban environment. This paper discusses the Geoscience team's development and implementation of two Earth system science based courses. These two courses incorporate Earth systems curricula and urban environments, and relate Earth systems to the importance of human constructed landscapes. The courses are: 1) a restructured introductory physical science course that is a large-format, service course called Understanding Earth, and 2) a newly developed, hands-on field methods course that uses urban landscapes as the context for developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. After development and implementation of the courses, a broad range of assessments measure student responses to Earth systems curricula, a variety of active learning activities, and finally, attempts to gauge the success of these methods in increasing student interest in the geosciences.