Paper No. 39-13
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM
EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE: FACULTY-MENTORED, STUDENT-DEVELOPED VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS IN COLORADO, USA
Five Colorado-based, faculty-mentored, student-developed virtual field trips (VFTs) are in progress for 2016-2017. Colorado’s geomorphology and climate interrelationships significantly affect hydrometeorological and geological events, including those identified as natural hazards. These include flood, drought, forest fire, snow avalanche, rockfall, debris flow, super cell storms, severe wind, and unique tornados (e.g. the Denver Cyclone). Using an interdisciplinary Earth System Science approach, the VFTs highlight the interface between Earth and atmospheric science to undergraduates, high school students, and current teachers and teacher candidates. The faculty-mentored, student-developed interdisciplinary research and production of the VFTs serve as a vehicle for peer-to-peer science outreach to two-year college (2YC) and four-year college (4YC) undergraduates. During 2015 and 2016, students researched, wrote, and developed their presentations. Students used what they learned from in-classroom activities, laboratory work, and on-site field work to translate their own science investigations into VFTs which can be shared with other 2YC and 4YC undergraduates. The student written, led, and produced VFTs are standalone presentations that serve as a model to introduce 2YC and 4YC students to science field experience as well as research and writing about science. It gives science teacher candidates and geoscience professionals opportunities to practice effective science communication, including the implementation of the NGSS standards which concurrently are being integrated into K-16 textbooks. The outcome of the first Virtual Field Trip is an active teaching tool to engage 2YC and 4YC students in scientific, place-based field research. Faculty-mentored, student-developed VFTs are a model for other Earth and Atmospheric Science faculty and teachers to foster science literacy as well as science education and outreach. The authors are working toward the establishment of an Earth System Science Education clearing house for the dissemination of VFTs, not only in Colorado, but in other regions.