• Harvey Thorleifson, Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • Carrie Jennings, Vice Chair
    Minnesota Geological Survey
  • David Bush, Technical Program Chair
    University of West Georgia
  • Jim Miller, Field Trip Chair
    University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Curtis M. Hudak, Sponsorship Chair
    Foth Infrastructure & Environment, LLC


Paper No. 17
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM


KIRK, Karin B., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, Northfield, MN 55057, WIESE, Katryn, City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, 94112, MANDUCA, Cathryn A., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057 and LEDLEY, Tamara Shapiro, Center for STEM Teaching and Learning / CLEAN Network, TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140,

Climate and energy topics offer areas of high student interest and societal relevance, making them ideal choices for undergraduate research. As these subjects typically reach beyond the geosciences and are rapidly evolving, it is important for faculty to stay abreast of the field. To this end, a variety of professional development opportunities were offered throughout the 2010-2011 academic year, helping faculty learn about emerging topics and effective pedagogy.

The On the Cutting Edge project continued its emphasis on climate and energy with a monthly webinar and book club series. These one-hour events allowed faculty a convenient way to learn about science topics such as carbon capture and storage, nuclear energy, thermohaline circulation, alternative energy, or the energy-water nexus. Some of the webinars focused on pedagogic approaches, including teaching with climate models, dealing with misconceptions, or using local energy issues for a semester-long jigsaw project.

An online workshop, Teaching about Earth's Climate Using Data and Numerical Models, was held in October 2010. Participants learned about different types of models, strategies for teaching with models and how to use online datasets. The workshop also provided opportunities to develop instructional activities that incorporate models.

The CLEAN project (Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network) launched its professional development series with two workshops, Teaching Energy Awareness: Understanding Sources and Uses and Navigating Climate Complexities in the Classroom. During the energy workshop, participants learned about approaches to teaching about black carbon, gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale, and projects for students to calculate their own energy use. The climate workshop featured a climate science overview by Richard Alley, along with hands-on sessions involving plotting data and using models. Both workshops resulted in the creation of new teaching materials designed to address principles of climate and energy literacy.

Further professional development opportunities are planned for the coming year. All presentations and materials from the workshops are posted on their respective websites. See and

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