2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 208-9
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM-4:15 PM

INCORPORATING GEOSPATIAL PERSPECTIVES INTO ENERGY EDUCATION

RICHARD, Glenn A., Mineral Physics Institute, Stony Brook University, Earth & Space Sciences Building, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2100, Glenn.Richard@sunysb.edu

By engaging students in the study of energy in a geospatial context, educators can facilitate an understanding of relationships between energy in natural Earth systems, technologies for harnessing energy to perform work, effects of energy utilization by humans, and means of optimizing the benefits and mitigating the liabilities connected with energy issues. Since geography integrates multiple subject areas on a tangible spatial platform, it offers a framework for cultivating an interdisciplinary perspective on energy concepts. In addition, associating particular events and other phenomena with specific familiar locations puts the subject matter in a real world context for analysis by students.

Energy in Earth systems needs to be considered on scales ranging from local through regional to global. Maps, references to place names, and electronic geospatial tools provide various means of fostering an appreciation of how people in communities, regions, nations, and the world utilize and are impacted by energy. On a local scale, students can learn and observe how energy relates directly to their own lives and communities. They can make these observations through informal field trips, media, attending public meetings, and formal use of instrumentation in field studies.

Many free or inexpensive tools are available that can be used to study energy geographically. With Google Earth, its standard layers, and other data, students can assemble a great deal of information on energy, such as map and photographic views of energy facilities, natural features, and weather phenomena related to energy in Earth systems. Using GPS devices, they can collect their own data on sunlight, microclimates, and other energy phenomena in the field and place it on Google Earth or other electronic maps. Students and educators also have access to a wealth of third-party geographic data online, such as insolation, temporal variations in ice extents in the Arctic, or locations of oil refineries, power plants, and wind farms, that can be mapped for making comparisons or other analyses. Maps can also present views of where and how microorganisms became incorporated into sediments and created fossil fuel deposits in the geologic past, and how subsequent tectonic plate movements resulted in the current distribution of oil, coal, and gas reserves.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Presentation Handout (.ppt format, 27411.0 kb)
Session No. 208
Energy Education in the Geoscience Classroom: Preparing Future Citizens, Scientists, and Policy Makers
Colorado Convention Center: Room 201
1:30 PM-5:30 PM, Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 496

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