GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 253-10
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


CARDEN-JESSEN, Melanie, Geography, Geology, and Planning, Missouri State University, 901 S. National, Springfield, MO 65897

In 1993, Governor Mel Carnahan signed into law the Outstanding Schools Act giving rise to the Missouri Assessment Program. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education chose biology as the discipline for high school science. While chemistry and physics were still encouraged selections for college-bound students, earth science received less emphasis. Because earth science explores many of the global issues currently confronting our population, the information needed to dissect reports in the media may not be in the general curriculum of all high school students. Although earth science standards exist, until the current cycle, earth science was not tested. Missouri has now added earth science items to the biology assessment resulting in a renewed interest by high school science teachers. The suggested standards for biology teachers include geologic and environmental hazards and their impact. Some example topics include: If past occurrences are an indication of future events, what, if any, actions are humans able to take to mitigate the impacts? Breaking down information on current climate change related to past warming and glaciation events is no easy task. How does a geologist know the history of our planet? Each of the past extinction events should be explored based on evidence in the rock record of planet Earth. Natural resource use is a topic that all students need to be able to discuss and develop a personal ethic. Students should be able to balance political, economic, and environmental use of these finite resources, including their own "footprint." Sinkholes have become such global superstars they have a television show. What impact have humans had on this worldwide phenomenon? For the past 25 years, these topics have not received their proper place in the high school science departments of Missouri. Testing these standards will elevate them in the classroom, which may help with citizens who make better choices for our world.