A NEW NATIONAL SERIES OF “TEACHER-FRIENDLY GUIDES” TO REGIONAL EARTH SCIENCE: CONTENT FOR PLACE-BASED APPROACHES TO EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE EDUCATION
A potential stumbling block to such an approach is frequently lack of teacher familiarity with the real-world Earth science around them, particularly for teachers teaching out-of-field and those with little previous fieldwork experience. To meet this need, we have constructed a complementary program of “teacher-friendly” guides to regional Earth science (teacherfriendlyguide.org) and uses of “virtual fieldwork” (virtualfieldwork.org).
The Teacher-Friendly Guides to regional Earth science consists of a set of seven Guides together covering all 50 states. The Guides are available as websites, downloadable pdfs, and printed books. Each Guide begins with cross-cutting Big Ideas, followed by a chapter on the geological history of the region: this set of concepts and major historical events together can explain many of the features of any given region, such as distribution of landforms, rock types, fossils, mineral resources, Earth hazards, and so on, each of which is represented by a chapter.
Each Guide ends with a chapter on fieldwork, covering both basic concepts on doing fieldwork and ways to bring field exploration back to the classroom in the form of “virtual techniques” such as zoomable panoramic images, maps, and data. The Guides end with an appendix on using real-world regional Earth science in the context of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The project ReaL Earth Inquiry was supported by NSF DRL 0733303.