Southeastern Section - 54th Annual Meeting (March 17–18, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


MIES, Jonathan W. and HOLMES, Ann E., Dept. Physics, Geology and Astronomy, Univ of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598,

The authors recently conducted a workshop for middle school teachers of Earth science in southeast Tennessee. The workshop was highly successful, as indicated by the 19 participants' performances on pre- and post-tests, their responses to a follow-up questionnaire, and the authors' perception of their increased enthusiasm for the subject. The workshop's success was due in part to present political circumstances in the area of education, strategic scheduling, aggressive promotion, ample financial support, functional pedagogical design, and extensive reference to local geology.

In particular, the workshop addressed an urgent and ongoing need for teachers' professional development caused by recent adjustments to Hamilton County science education standards and by NCLB legislation.

In terms of logistics, a duration of 10 days was seen as adequate to deliver content, but sufficiently short to fit into teachers' summer schedules. Late June was selected to avoid conflict with other summer workshops, although promotion began 6 months earlier. The workshop was announced directly to administrators of county education and both public and private schools. Participants were provided stipends, lunch, teaching materials (rock and mineral specimens, mineral test implements, maps, posters, etc.), field-trip transportation, and parking permits, all of which were funded by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. This grant also provided salaries for workshop staff. UTC provided facilities and tuition waivers (2 credit hours).

The workshop began with a field trip to the Valley and Ridge and Plateaus in the Chattanooga area (Eagle's Nest quarry, Point Park, Lookout Valley anticline, and Chickamauga Gulch) and concluded with a day-long transect of the Blue Ridge (Ocoee gorge to Chunky Gal Mountain). Otherwise, the daily routine consisted of alternating lectures, discussions, and developmentally appropriate classroom activities that focused on plate tectonics, earthquakes, Earth's interior, minerals, rocks, volcanoes, southern Appalachian tectonics, and related concepts.

Workshop products, including large-format posters and classroom activities, were provided to participants and are freely available from the workshop web site (