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

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


ROSS, Robert M.1, SWABY, Andrielle N.1, DUGGAN-HAAS, Don2, ALLMON, Warren D.1, LUCAS, Mark D.1 and MIKKELSEN, Paula M.1, (1)Paleontological Research Institution, 1259 Trumansburg Road, Ithaca, NY 14850, (2)Paleontological Research Institution, 92 South Drive, Amherst, NY 14226, rmr16@cornell.edu

Deep understandings of why a place looks the way it does require understanding of core ideas from several disciplines, application of crosscutting concepts (such as scale, models, energy and matter, stability and change), and use of a variety of scientific and engineering practices. Thus place-based Earth system science is an outstanding case for full application of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. In principle, much of an Earth science curriculum could be taught through the lens of repeated reference to familiar local sites and sites within a region approximately a day’s drive from school.

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.