GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 40-9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


RAJASEKARAN, Renuka, Science, Luella High School, 603 Walker Drive, Locust Grove, GA 30248,

Countries around the world are investing in STEM programs and they yearn to realize deeper learning and competencies of students in STEM fields. STEM efforts can benefit from the committed practice of three dimensional learning, which includes: practices, cross-cutting concepts, and core ideas. 

Geosciences are interdisciplinary and rich in cross-cutting concepts for the teaching-learning process. The key is to integrate the geoscience concepts seamlessly and align them to the curriculum standards. In the next step, learning experiences need to be designed in such a way that they not only promote deeper learning but are also time-framed within the available learning time for the kids. Great success is achieved by collaborative teaching and collaborative learning models in which learners are facilitated with horizontal integration within the STEM fields at the grade level and vertical integration between grade levels. In this endeavor, self-directed learning through project-based tasks yield more learning efficacy. Furthermore, learners of today are in an unprecedented time of knowledge cultivation and technology infusion, both of which provide various advantages in terms of social networking. Generally, ssociability between learners is an autonomous process, which is much more enhanced today because of technology. Therefore, in today's world, success in learning relies on how sociability in learners can be harnessed for sociability in learning – this is the premise of cognitive diversity and collaborative inquiry, which eventually culminates in confluence of ideas, hybridization of concepts, and birth of unforeseen creativity.

In the present paper, an illustrated design for teaching cross cutting concepts in geobioenergetics will be presented. This is a truly interdisciplinary theme, which integrates, big ideas from geochemistry, biochemistry, redox chemistry, and energy. The integrated lessons so developed involve these four categories of concepts, which are adapted to the K12 curricula for grades 10 to 12 and they can be scaled up or down. The main frame of learning is built in STEM units around birnessite and activities are developed for each of the facets of birnessite with the flexibility to cross-connect tasks as needed or handle them independently if such a demand arises for specific purposes.