Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


GOCHIS, Emily E.1, ROSE, William I.1, VYE, Erika C.1, HUNGWE, Kedmon2, MATTOX, Stephen R.3 and PETCOVIC, Heather4, (1)Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Dr, Houghton, MI 49931, (2)Cognitive and Learning Sciences, Michigan Technological University, 1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931, (3)Department of Geology, Grand Valley State Univ, Allendale, MI 49401-9403, (4)Department of Geosciences and The Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1187 Rood Hall, Kalamazoo, MI 49008,

Creative thinking coupled with effective communication between the public, scientists and decision makers based on a solid understanding of Earth Science is necessary for tackling the many challenges faced by society. Unfortunately there is a broad absence of Earth Science literacy in the general population. Geoheritage and other geologically significant sites have the potential to increase literacy by engaging citizens in geoscience concepts through culturally relevant, place-based examples that evoke emotional attachments in individuals.

Geologically significant places exist within or near-by most communities but may not yet be designated as Geoheritage sites. These special places can be valuable resources used to engage K-12 students in geoscience topics if integrated into existing curriculum. However, many teachers charged with geoscience instruction lack awareness of these sites, pedagogical experience of using place-based examples or a firm background in Earth Science concepts. EarthCaches are special types of geocaches which teach lessons about geologically significant places in a fun and interactive way.

A mixed method study has been conducted to understand the effects of integrating EarthCaching into the Michigan Teaching Excellence program (MITEP) as part of the Earth System Institute for in-service teacher-participants. Educators visited EarthCaches & geoheritage sites throughout Michigan during the program and later developed a publishable EarthCache for use by the general public. EarthCaches developed by MiTEP teachers provide a high quality geoscience lesson that builds awareness of geoheritage sites and Earth Science literacy in the general public. Results suggest: 1) geoscience knowledge and skills improve, 2) place-based pedagogical skills are further developed and 3) an increase in awareness of regional geologically significant areas.

  • Gochis_IncreasingGeohertiageAwarenessThroughTeacherDevelopedEarthCaches_GSANational_2013_final.pdf (3.1 MB)