Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:35 AM


OLINS, Heather C., Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Avenue, Room 3085, Cambridge, MA 02138 and NIELSEN, Mark E., Educational Resources Group, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 4000 Jones Bridge Rd, Chevy Chase, MD 20815,

Crosscutting concepts represent one of the three principal dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. They are broad concepts that link across multiple domains of science and include: patterns, similarity, and diversity; cause and effect; scale, proportion and quantity; systems and system models; energy and matter; structure and function; stability and change.

With these concepts in mind, we developed an interactive app for mobile devices that seeks to build bridges across themes in the biological and geological sciences. Our EarthViewer app explores Earth history and emphasizes connections between planetary and biological evolution. Grounded firmly in the primary literature, the app is based on continental reconstructions dating to the Archean eon. A variety of additional data layers, including atmospheric CO2 and O2, temperature, biodiversity indices and discrete events (mass extinctions, impact events, critical fossil markers) offer a multidimensional view of the planet over time. The result is an interactive tool that instructors can use to draw connections between traditionally separated fields of biology and geology and to illustrate key concepts of Earth system science and geologic time. The app has been very popular with over 225,000 downloads since its release in early 2013. We continue to develop classroom resources to help teachers use it in the classroom. This presentation will include a tour of the app, as well as demonstrations of how it can be used in both college and high school classrooms.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is one of the nation’s largest philanthropies dedicated to supporting research and science education. HHMI’s BioInteractive initiative opens a window on cutting-edge science through interactive web features, short films, virtual labs, and scientific animations.