Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


LOEWY, Staci L., Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712,

Landscapes, natural hazards and economic resources of the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) of California are controlled by geology. However, students in the region do not recognize its importance or the abundant local job opportunities and, thus, do not consider Earth science as a career option. Educating teachers is the most efficient way to positively impact the Earth science perceptions of a large number of students. Ongoing successful programs at California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) that provide hands-on research experiences for teachers find that teachers have difficulty implementing their new knowledge in their classrooms, citing difficulty adding to the tightly constrained curriculum and not having time to develop engaging lessons. To address these concerns, CSUB’s National Science Foundation-funded SJV Rocks!! program educated teachers about the spectacular local geology and provided them with well-developed hands-on inquiry-based activities that were ready to be deployed in the classroom, including implementation instructions, class presentations and additional resources on related topics.

To generate the most accurate and effective teaching tools that would appeal to teachers and students, SJV Rocks!! employed expert Earth science teachers and college students who were recent graduates of the regional public school system and teamed them with professional geologists who served as content experts. The new teaching tools are tied to California Science Standards to clearly indicate how they fit in the curriculum, and also to California Language Arts and Mathematics standards to facilitate application to multiple educational goals.

After the expert teachers tested the new teaching tools in their own classrooms, the teams taught them to groups of teachers during a four-day workshop. In addition to the teaching tools and resources, workshop participants were provided with a field trip to experience the local geology and a summary of the abundant local geology jobs and their earning potential, and the school district science coordinator presented a wealth of assistance programs and resources available to help teachers enhance their classes’ science experiences.

Teaching tools are available at, part of CSUB’s continuing collaboration with local schools.