Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (12–14 March 2007)

Paper No. 15
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM


HJELM, Elizabeth, Science Teacher, Crossroads Academy, 95 Dartmouth College Highway, Lyme, NH 03768,

Based on our classroom experiences, earth sciences websites can form the foundation for scientific discovery for students as young as 12. Using the latest developments in digital library technology and research models from the ERESE 2005 Plate Tectonics Teacher Workshop, Crossroads Academy sixth grade scientists developed a research program on biodiversity, volcanology, tectonic setting, life cycle and physical structure of seamounts. Using their own questions as starting points for individual inquiry, each student developed a testable hypothesis, gathered and analyzed data from selected seamount websites and reached a significant conclusion on an important aspect of seamounts. All of the work was documented in lab reports written as html files. References were linked into the lab reports to facilitate the teacher's checking of data sources and of the student's interpretations of their data. The links also provided a simple mechanism for twelve year olds to accurately cite data sources. Lab reports were presented to the class during a formal research session. The completed lab reports produced a student generated research database that was initially used by the students to complete a separate lab on factors influencing biodiversity at seamounts. Finally, the student investigators were able to work as a research team to answer a variety of additional questions posed by the teacher and other students.