Introducing Inquiry-Based Approaches to Earth Science Education through the Use of “Teacher-Friendly Guides” to Regional and Local Systems
By including the basic content and tools required to understand local Earth science, the guides will enlarge upon textbook principles by illustrating them in rocks, fossils, landforms, water systems, climate, and hazards specific to each region. Critical to the development of the guides is the planned interaction with educators before, during, and after guide completion, allowing initial prototyping and subsequent testing of the guides' usability.
Another component of the guides is the development of online virtual fieldwork experiences; this approach will allow educators to bring the field to the classroom when the class does not have access to the field. By providing these tools, the guides open the door to inquiry by encouraging educators and their students to apply basic science concepts to situations immediately outside the classroom. The ultimate goal of the project is for students to apply an inquiry-based understanding of Earth systems to their personal lives, thinking of and answering questions about processes in the natural world around them.