2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 208-3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM-2:15 PM


LYFORD, Mark E., Department of Botany, University of Wyoming, Dept. 3165, 1000 E. University Ave, Laramie, WY 82071, mahler@uwyo.edu

Energy use is one of the most pressing grand challenges facing the global community and one that students must wrestle with as future citizens, scientists and policy makers. Unfortunately, energy education encounters a variety of challenges, including the multitude of naïve conceptions and misconceptions about energy concepts that students harbor, the difficulties of teaching from multiple scientific disciplines and the inextricable connections to the social sciences. To effectively deal with future energy issues, students must be presented with energy education curricula that merge energy concepts from across scientific disciplines, connect learning to authentic real-world issues, and illustrate the multitude of social sciences that influence decisions about energy use. At the University of Wyoming, a non-majors integrated science course attempts to meet these requirements. Students are offered a variety of experiences to learn about energy in our world. During interactive lecture sessions, students are presented with energy concepts from the perspectives of geology, chemistry, physics and biology. Through this approach, students learn about energy in a more integrated way. Concepts including thermodynamics, energy forms and conversions, atomic structure, chemical bonds, organismal metabolism, fossil fuel formation (etc…) are weaved together so students realize disciplinary boundaries are largely artificially derived, often precluding a cohesive understanding of energy science. During laboratory sessions, students delve into hands-on activities aimed at expanding their understanding of energy science. Finally, students participate in weekly discussions that connect energy science to the myriad of social factors that influence energy decisions and policies. Here, students work in teams to consider real-world scenarios about global energy. Students must determine the practicality of replacing historical energy sources with alternate energy sources by considering concepts of energy science as well as social factors such as economics, politics and human health. It is perhaps through integrated curricula such as this that we can effectively educate students about the current and future challenges of global energy use, as well as other global challenges such as climate change and water.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
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. 495

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