2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 306-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM


TEASDALE, Rachel, Geological & Environmental Sciences, CSU Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0205, SELKIN, Peter A., Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Tacoma, Box 358436, 1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma, WA 98402 and GOODELL, Laurel P., Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Guyot Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544

InTeGrate is an NSF-funded STEP Center program focused on improving earth-science literacy of undergraduate students, in part through development of peer-reviewed, flexible, and field-tested classroom materials that explore geoscience topics in the context of sustainability. We have developed six introductory-level classroom units collectively titled Living on the Edge (LOE), that address earthquake and volcanic risk to populations at transform, divergent and convergent plate boundaries. The units can be used independently or as a collective “module” in sequence. LOE instructional materials will be published on-line at http://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/index.html and include: a) simulations and case studies that model the practice of geology while connecting students to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have occurred in plate boundary settings, b) exploration and interpretation of authentic data, and c) an interdisciplinary approach that engages students in developing and evaluating strategies to mitigate risk. InTeGrate modules are written to be flexible, and piloting of LOE was conducted in our three different university settings. A fourth pilot was run as a workshop for in-service school teachers that included connections to Next Generation Science Standards. LOE materials have been revised in response to feedback from students, instructors, and external reviews. In addition to assessments built into LOE, learning gains in the pilot populations were measured using a pre/post survey focused on unit content, a pre/post attitudinal assessment, common Geoscience Literacy Exam (GLE) multiple choice questions, and essay questions. We encountered some unexpected preconceptions; for example, 36% of students attending a class in the Pacific Northwest were unaware of the region’s seismic and volcanic hazards. After using LOE materials, however, students were significantly better able to identify important hazards, analyze earthquake probability and volcano monitoring data, and understand that although risk mitigation may be complicated, it is a feasible and critical endeavor for communities at plate boundary settings. Additional feedback includes students’ enthusiasm for the active learning strategies used in the materials.