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

Paper No. 33-13
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


STEARNS, Cathleen1, GLOSE, Thomas J.2, CRUMLISH, Julianna3, SWENSEN, Katherine2 and LOWRY, Christopher S.2, (1)Riverside High School Science Department, Buffalo Public Schools and the University of Buffalo ISEP, 471 Natural Science Building, University of Buffalo, North Campus, Buffalo, New York 14260, NY 14260, (2)Department of Geology, University at Buffalo, 411 Cooke Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260, (3)Environmental Geosciences, University of Buffalo, 411 Cooke Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260, cstearns@buffaloschools.org

New York State Earth Science teaching standards require students to be able to use a wide range of standard reference tables in order to pass the State Regents Exam. However, many students in urban schools have little experiential context that would allow them to relate to these Earth Science Reference Tables. As an urban high school Earth Science teacher in Buffalo, New York, I wanted to show my students how reference tables are complied. In collaboration between the Buffalo Public Schools and the University of Buffalo, we investigated three locations within Tonawanda Creek in Niagara Country, New York, in order to bring experiential contexts into the classroom. Focusing on the Relationship of Transported Particle Size to Stream Velocity Reference Table, we conducted fieldwork to measure stream geometry and velocity.

Rock particles were also collected, dried and separated in order to analyze grain size distribution. Sediment samples were labeled according to size and placed in jars for students to observe with hands-on lessons. Students will observe differences in grain size from silt to pebbles and be able to compare grain size distribution to variability in stream velocities. Using this data, lesson plans have been developed so that students will build stream profile and use at least two New York State Reference Tbles with advanced levels of understanding. Students will be able to predict grain size deposition and transport when given stream velocity.