Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


EGGER, Anne E., Geological Sciences, Central Washington University, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7418, MANDUCA, Cathryn A., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057 and MOGK, David W., Dept. of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717,

In most K-12 school science, students are taught a scientific method that is focused on experimentation and bears little resemblance to the methods practiced by geoscientists. The methods of geoscience include making detailed observations of the natural world, assembling multiple lines of evidence to evaluate competing hypotheses, developing models of natural systems, working across large temporal and spatial scales, and working with complex systems. K-12 students’ lack of experience with these methods can have long-term consequences: students may fail to engage with geoscience as a possible career path, or view it as lacking the rigor of experimental science. This is a difficult cycle to break, since pre-service teachers are unlikely to be able to take a significant number of science courses or to get involved in research in a way that allows them to internalize the multiple methods of science and then teach those methods in their classrooms. Although the Next Generation Science Standards broaden the scope of science process skills, both new and continuing teachers need support in integrating the full spectrum of scientific methods into their teaching.

In June, 2012, an NSF-funded InTeGrate workshop brought together 32 faculty from geoscience, philosophy of science, and teacher education to share best practices and strategies for incorporating the methods of geoscience into their teaching. Workshop participants discussed making instruction in methods explicit in introductory geoscience courses and science methods courses for pre-service teachers. Participants also contributed to an online collection of teaching activities, courses, and essays that address teaching the methods of geoscience. Discussion focused on the needs to develop materials and resources in areas such as uncertainty, spatial skills, efficacy, metacognition, and field skills. Groups also developed tools for assessing student understanding of the methods of geoscience. All resources along with a detailed synthesis of the workshop is available at Currently, teams of three or more faculty at diverse institutions are developing and testing new materials that will be available for wide use in the spring of 2014.