2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 13-5
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


SANDERS, Randall S., Environmental Science, William Paterson University, 300 Pompton Rd., Wayne, NJ 07470, sandersr7@student.wpunj.edu

Uniquely located in an urban environment and one of the newest parks in the National Park System, the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (NPS- PGF) is positioned to function as an educational resource to a traditionally underserved community in Paterson NJ. We have recently developed a collaborative project in partnership with the fledging NPS-PGF and Paterson Museum, to work with William Paterson University undergraduate students to develop science-based Next Generation Science Standard aligned curriculum packages for the Paterson grade 3-12 community that focus on natural geo- scientific processes (eg. geology, hydrology, ecology, and the interconnectedness of the natural and human environment) that are occurring at their local National Park and include a hands-on, on-site visit to the National Park, a hands-on, on-site visit to Paterson Museum and pre and post lesson plans.

To date we have developed one full lesson plan package (pre-lesson, hand-on on-site tour, and post lesson) focused on dynamic weathering and erosional processes that have contributed to the formation of the Paterson Falls. Weathering and erosion are currently taught in 7th grade in the Paterson School District and aligned to NGSS standard MS-ESS2.2 where students should be able to “Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales” (http://www.nextgenscience.org/msess2-earth-systems). This living classroom allows us to emphasize the importance of hands-on learning and physically connects the concepts with real-world (local) examples. It also shows the students how natural process have shaped our landscape and contributed to the evolution of the city of Paterson NJ. We will pilot this program in the fall of 2015. Our next lesson plan will focus on plate tectonics and geologic time (aligned to NGSS core idea ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions). All packages developed for the NPS-PGF will integrate the NGSS grade- appropriate elements of the science practice(s), disciplinary core idea(s), and crosscutting concept(s) (NAS 2015) as much as possible and be guided by the Paterson, NJ School district pacing guides for each grade. All materials will be published and available online.