Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:15 PM


GUERTIN, Laura A., Earth Science, Penn State Brandywine, 25 Yearsley Mill Road, Media, PA 19063,

Audio recorded news updates, interviews, and radio shows can be incorporated into the Earth and space science classroom. Downloaded from the internet or streamed live from a website, scientific news stories recorded for a general audience are an excellent supplement to textbook material and classroom lectures. By introducing students to science news stories via audio throughout a term, students gain a better understanding of science processes, have an awareness of what is going on in the discipline, and see the relevance of what is being covered in the classroom to their everyday lives. In addition, audio interviews with scientists provide a sense of authenticity about the work and a connection to the researcher through their voice.

Instructors may utilize a variety of approaches to integrating audio recordings in the classroom. A class period can begin with students listening to and discussing a short scientific news update from Nature ( or NOVA ( An instructor may set up a jigsaw activity, where students listen to audio files outside the classroom or on iPods in the classroom from NPR ( or Living on Earth ( and break into groups for discussion. An instructor may have a quiz or test question where students answer targeted questions based on an audio file they listen to at the beginning of the assessment exercise from NASA ( or EarthSky ( Finally, an instructor may have students research a scientific topic and create their own audio file or podcast series.

Whether students listen to or create audio files, the incorporation of audio into the classroom environment can assist students in developing valuable skills such as listening, speaking, organization, critical thinking and scientific communication.