Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
ENGAGING NOVICE EARTH SCIENCE LEARNERS IN EARTHSCOPE SCIENCE
Congress approved the EarthScope Program in part because the science would “contribute to the public's understanding of the dynamic Earth”. Given the sophistication of EarthScope research, the challenge of engaging students and the public in EarthScope science is certainly daunting. To approach this goal, geoscience educators must translate EarthScope science for novice learners and make the science inviting, accessible, and useful. Teachers on the Leading Edge (TOTLE) is a place-based K-12 Earth-science teacher professional development program featuring EarthScope science and Cascadia geologic hazards. TOTLE offered a six-day workshop each summer from 2008 to 2010 in which participants learned how geoscientists developed our current understanding of Cascadia geologic hazards and how EarthScope research is advancing frontiers of geoscience knowledge. Drawing on the Orphan Tsunami of 1700, TOTLE and collaborators developed differentiated and aligned inquiry-based activities inviting students to approach Cascadia tsunami geology as a “Crime Scene Investigation” through which they gain understanding of plate tectonic processes, such as the earthquake cycle. A key feature includes lesson plans that progress from a basic one-class-period lesson (e.g. velocities of three Cascadia GPS stations), to an intermediate-level enhancement (e.g. velocities observed by an array of GPS stations), to an advanced investigation (e.g. Episodic Tremor and Slip). Inquiry-based learning about great Cascadia earthquakes and tsunamis aligns well with science education standards; provides a case study of scientific discovery; and emphasizes STEM and societal connections using the context of geologic hazards. These motivations have been dramatically reinforced by the Chile 2010 and Japan 2011 great earthquakes and resulting Pacific-wide tsunami. Pre- and post-workshop assessments of science content knowledge and follow-up surveys of teacher confidence and classroom implementation document the significant and long-lived impact of TOTLE. Although TOTLE classroom activities were designed for secondary Earth-science students, the analyses of EarthScope GPS and seismic observations, as well as associated animations and manipulative models, can easily be adapted for college-level general education courses.