GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 336-6
Presentation Time: 3:15 PM


MOOSAVI, Sadredin Cyrus, Department of Education, Communication & Outreach, Geological Society of America, 3300 Penrose Place, Boulder, CO 80301,

Effective dissemination of scientific discoveries is important to maximizing the nation’s investment in research. Federal outreach aimed at post-secondary faculty teaching large introductory courses can help to address this issue for the 50% of the US population that attend college. Reaching the remaining population requires a different strategy. A greater multiplier effect can be achieved when working with K-12 teachers who educate the full population. Dissemination to pre-service teachers while still in college addresses this problem in the long-term but has a generation time of 30+ years given the slow turnover of the teaching workforce. The process can be jump-started by targeting professional development workshops for in-service teachers.

Teacher professional development workshops are an especially effective mechanism for generating rapid change in the classroom due to the nature of the population that attends. Teachers participating already have experience translating new ideas into the curricular framework dictated by the standards their school districts are obliged to follow. They have a realistic understanding of the fiscal, physical and temporal limitations on integrating new content and activities as well as how to make the materials age appropriate for their particular classroom. Unlike pre-service teachers, practicing teachers are in a position to implement what they have learned with hundreds of students in near real time. The intrinsic motivation that led them to attend the workshop allows sharing with other teachers in their home schools.

This presentation discusses the use of materials from a NSF-funded MSI-REaCH workshop in a new track “Interpreting the Environment of the Past: From Sediments to Rocks” within a long running professional development workshop for teachers of geoscience. Building on the Minnesota Mineral Education Workshop’s existing structure, MSI-REaCH content was presented in 4 sequential 75- minute short courses focusing on The Sea Floor, Marine Sediments, Paleoclimate and Climate Change. The content was explored at field trip stops related to marine deposits including the Ely Greenstone and Soudan Iron Formations. Feedback from teachers on this initial incorporation of material via this method will be discussed in the context of the workshop’s 20-year history.