Southeastern Section–55th Annual Meeting (23–24 March 2006)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:25 AM


WAGNER, John R., Geological Sciences, Clemson University, 340 Brackett Hall, Clemson, SC 29634-0919, CLARK, G. Michael, Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, 306 Earth and Planetary Sciences Building, Knoxville, TN 37996-1410, MILLS, Hugh H., Earth Sciences, Tennessee Technological University, 815 Quadrangle Drive, Cookeville, TN 38505 and GIBSON, Michael A., Agriculture, Geoscience, & Natural Resources, University of Tennessee at Martin, 256 Brehm Hall, Martin, TN 38238,

Although the National Science Standards mandate that earth science be taught in middle school classrooms, some states, including Tennessee, have adopted state standards that minimize the coverage of geological topics in these grades. As a result, many middle school students in Tennessee remain ignorant of the importance of the geosciences in land use planning, energy production and natural resource extraction, and environmental disasters.

Educational research indicates that an interdisciplinary team approach is the best teaching and learning methodology for middle school students. The introduction of place-based case studies as short-term team projects allows students to approach real world problems from the different perspectives of their science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics classrooms.

The SE MAPS project (Southeast Maps and Aerial Photographic Systems), developed with the assistance of the National Science Foundation, has produced a few model case studies for each of the eight participating southeastern states. These studies use a series of maps and remotely sensed images to provide a framework for hands-on, inquiry-based activities which are appropriate for interdisciplinary study. Geoscience educators in Tennessee are working to add more local case studies across the state through the TENNmaps Project.