2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


PATTERSON, Amanda, MINNEHAN, Catherine, GATES, Eunice and PURDUM, Laurel, Geology, Radford University, P.O. Box 6939, Radford, VA 24142, ahpatters@radford.edu

Earth Science Camp and Park Exploration Week (ESCAPE Week) was designed to: 1) introduce earth science topics to girls in a fun and educational manner, 2) provide an opportunity for the girls to teach their parents, siblings, or relatives about earth science each day, and 3) establish an earth science connection among members of the community to generate interest in “Friends of the Museum of the Earth Sciences” activities sponsored by Sigma Gamma Epsilon. ESCAPE Week, a day-camp led by a faculty member and three undergraduate geology majors, provided 4th and 5th grade girls a taste of earth science as they might not encounter it at school. From visiting the “Earth Spa” to eating stratovolcano sundaes to solving a crime through soil analysis, the girls were eager to participate and record observations in their field notebooks. Each participant took a pre- and post-test evaluating her knowledge of geoscience topics. A paired t-test was used to compare the pre- and post-test scores. Results confirmed that the post-test scores (mean = 78%) were significantly higher than the pre-test scores (mean = 30%) at the p = .000 level. Girls led their parents on an educational tour of the activities they had completed at the end of each day. The girls were surprisingly self-confident as they “quizzed” their parents about earth science topics. Parents completed surveys at the completion of the camp. 100% of the parents “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that they found the daily tour to be educational. In addition, 100% “strongly agreed” or “agreed” both that their daughter's understanding of earth science and their daughter's interest in science was strengthened during the week. The camp created a community of girls interested in reconvening for additional earth science-themed activities, such as a river float, a geocaching adventure, and a tour of a local cave. Participants and their families and friends were invited to participate in these Saturday informal educational activities sponsored and led by the Radford University chapter of SGE. An ESCAPE Week resource CD will be available for those interested in resources, ideas, and lessons learned.