Cordilleran Section - 115th Annual Meeting - 2019

Paper No. 35-5
Presentation Time: 9:20 AM


SMITH, Joshua B., GILLIAM, Ashley E., CALL, Eric and SWENSON, Kristin Lee, Institute for Scientific Literacy, Phenomenon, 14 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 119, Novato, CA 94949

Teaching K-12 earth science through the lens of three-dimensional standards necessitates a strong familiarity with core idea content and a shift in how teachers engage with students. Our response to this problem is Phenomenon Quests™. Quests are 1-3 day immersive experiences that explore fundamental earth science concepts through the application of three-dimensional performance expectations. Quests invite participants to engage in phenomenon-anchored, practice-based activities that are linked together by an overarching scientific question or problem and provide targeted background information pertinent to relevant core ideas. The overarching question provides teachers with a tangible focus for the core content that also allows them to sharpen their understandings of cross-cutting concepts and science and engineering practices. Because core ideas can be explored through questions related to the same processes acting in different locations and scenarios, the same quest concepts can be used to build regionally-relevant versions that are tailored to educators in different parts of the country. The Volcanoes of the Connecticut River Valley is a Grade 6-8 Quest. It uses the question “How do we know there were there volcanoes in the Connecticut River Valley during the Age of Dinosaurs?” as a vehicle to understand volcanism and how plate tectonics drives volcanism - concepts which contribute to the core idea that Earth’s surface configuration of landforms and materials can be explained by the interactions of key systems over time and at multiple scales. This fieldtrip-based quest includes background on the tectonic engine and relevant geological materials and landforms, followed by a tour of locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut that show evidence of the regional geological regime that existed as Pangea began to fragment in the early Mesozoic, and which are home to the phenomena upon which the practice-based activities are based. These ancient rift-basin volcanoes are compared against other styles of volcanism (e.g., the modern Pacific Northwest and Hawaii) to provide a comprehensive picture of how the Earth creates new crust, both now and in the deep past. Phenomenon Quests™ will facilitate teachers employing new science standards in effective ways to inspire science learning in the classroom.