What could be better than a super volcano to provide the context for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)? The content is all there; the physics, chemistry, geology, biology are all interconnected from the microbes that exist in the hydrothermal waters to the massive violent eruptions that created the Valles Caldera in New Mexico. What started as a New Mexico EPSCOR NSF Grant (EPS 081449 and EPS 0918635) to understand the past and future impacts of climate change spun off in to an Earth Systems curriculum that involves research scientists from colleges, universities and national labs providing virtual and field STEM experiences for students. The scientists involved in the state-wide grant came from a variety of disciplines that include: geology, climatologist, paleontology, hydrology, biology, forestry, and volcanology.
The authors will demonstrate how this material will engage students in geochemistry by simulating the power of expanding volcanic gases in a volcanic eruption. Activities, demonstrations and resources will help teachers connects students to the crosscutting concepts of science as presented in the NGSS.
The curriculum, Teacher’s Guide to Valles Caldera: The Science was developed as a website using the award winning documentary Valles Caldera: The Science. Building on place-based education and aligning to NGSS, the units were developed to connect research scientists and their data to units on Fire, Climate Change and Geology.