GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 152-12
Presentation Time: 4:40 PM


ROBECK, Ed, Center for Geoscience and Society, American Geosciences Institute, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302; School of Education, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount St., Wichita, KS 67260

This presentation describes ways that K-12 geoscience education can leverage the values and meanings that people assign to geoheritage sites to encourage learning about both the specific sites and the general scientific principles that contribute to an understanding of the sites. Geoheritage sites are valued for many reasons, including aesthetic, artistic, cultural, ecological, recreational, scientific, economic, educational and other qualities. The multi-faceted values assigned to geoheritage sites make them potential resources when leveraged for K-12 science education through several current frameworks of geoscience instruction. For example, the qualities of geoheritage sites parallel in many ways the features that underlie the meanings and attachments encompassed within the personal sense of place that is fundamental to place-based education (PBE). PBE has been demonstrated to be a highly effective approach to instruction that makes use of a student’s sense of place to build relevance and engage learners, including those who are members of under-represented groups, in investigating and learning about specific places—including with respect to dimensions that are related to geoscience. In that geoheritage sites typically stand as testaments to various Earth processes (e.g., the deposition and erosion that form canyons), they can also be approached as examples of phenomena, which is to say that they lend themselves to being studied within phenomenon-based learning models, which are particularly well suited to addressing the three dimensional learning advocated for by the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This also includes elements of human interaction with the Earth, which is one of three areas of disciplinary core ideas in Earth and Space Science within the NGSS. Fundamentally, this paper will show that K-12 science teachers will find great value in geoheritage sites as resources for instruction, and that they can therefore play a role in supporting the preservation of such sites.