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

Paper No. 38-3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


ALTER, Daniel W., Student, Macomb Community College, 14500 E Twelve Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088, ZOLYNSKY, Debra L., Science Education, Lake Shore High School, 22980 13 Mile Rd, St. Clair Shores, MI 48082, DUGGAN-HAAS, Don, Education, Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850 and CODY, Spencer A., 7-12 Hoven Science, Hoven School District, 335 S. Main St, Hoven, SD 57450, danalter76@yahoo.com

For an independent research project, I was charged with learning about wetlands and then teaching this to two high schools classes. One class was my own, and the other was 1000 miles away in Hoven, SD, for which we connected via Zoom.us (similar to Skype) and included Dr. Don Duggan-Haas in Ithaca, New York. I was a teaching assistant for my environmental education class at Lake Shore High School, assigned to teach other students how to use field equipment, Google Docs, and Google Chromebooks, as well as any other task sent my way.

To prepare for this project, students at Lake Shore were given assignments designed to assist me, such as creating weekly logs to improve observation skills, identifying wetland species, using probes, and using Google Docs. We went outdoors once per week and students recorded changes to their unique spot. They worked in small groups to gather temperature data, and species and cloud identification. I taught students the proper use of equipment and recording, how to use field manuals, and how to take relevant photographs. After students became expert in these skills, the class took a field trip to a local wetland. I lead a small group to collect data and photos. The overarching question was always, “Why does this place look the way it does?” Although Michigan students may feel that there is nothing special about this area, this is not the normal environment of South Dakota.

Knowing that I would be teaching this to not only my own classmates, but also to another class and Dr. Duggan-Haas raised the bar for me. Because I needed to teach research techniques, I became skilled at using the equipment and presentation tools.

As participants of the ReaL Earth Inquiry Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, teachers in South Dakota and Michigan met regularly online with Dr. Duggan-Haas in New York to prepare, creating a timeline and a list of expectations. Those were given to me to determine and design my own product with little interference by my teacher except to impress upon me that the product was to be presented to an audience with practically no knowledge of wetlands, as well as the larger geologic community, i.e. the GSA. Because they expected the very best work, I had to become a master of my topic.

The focus of this poster is to show the method of data collection used in this field experience toward my lesson preparation.