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

Paper No. 152-8
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM


CAMACHO, Joe, National Park Service, 427 Palm Place, Pomona, CA 91767, YOUNG, Shaunna D., Earth Science Education, Radford University, 2421 3rd St, Radford, VA 24141 and ABOLINS, Mark, Department of Geosciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Box 9, Murfreesboro, TN 37132

During the summer of 2013, ten pre-service teachers from across the country set out to learn more about their subject first hand. Geoenvironmental Challenges in the Southeastern United States was the first National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) to focus mainly on providing pre-service teachers the opportunity to conduct research in the Geosciences (broadly-defined). A structural geology investigation in the REU focused on finding subsurface faults by using digitized geologic maps and clues found at the surface. Two undergraduates (Camacho and Young) and their mentor (Abolins) scoured road cuts, riverbeds, and outcrops for minor faults and non-vertical joints. The field research included measuring the strike and dip of hundreds of bedding planes, joints, and a few minor faults. Much of the data was collected by canoe along the Harpeth River in Williamson County, TN. Field data was imported into ArcGIS for analysis which led to the pre-service teachers discovering previously undiscovered faults. This component of the research was especially valuable to the pre-service teachers because it provided them with the opportunity to experience data interpretation, which they will use in their future classrooms.

Not only does conducting research benefit the teacher but it also allows him/her to bring those experiences back to the classroom. During Summer 2014 one of the pre-service teachers (Camacho) used information learned during the 2013 REU Mammoth Cave National Park field trip for an educational booklet on cave and karst systems for the National Park Service which is currently in review. The introduction to cave and karst from the field trip prepared the pre-service teacher to create the booklet suitable for children. The urgency to protect cave and karst systems was made clear during the trip and has been translated into the new Junior Cave Scientist booklet. The Junior Ranger Program funded by the National Park Service is experienced by over 800,000 children annually.