GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 115-1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


KRAFT, Katrien, Whatcom Community College, Science Dept, 237 West Kellogg Rd, Bellingham, WA 98226

In the recent pivot to online teaching and amid the political unrest in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others, a change in approaching teaching geosciences became critical, both for student success in online learning and for student motivation. Providing context for the science we teach will create ways for students to value the content as relevant. As a result, I worked to embed equity-based strategies throughout my (introductory) Natural Disasters course and integrated aspects of historical and ongoing racism into the curriculum. To start, I integrated a weekly asynchronous discussion for students to engage in the “disaster” of the week employing an equity-based strategy from Reading Apprenticeship ( called, “Golden Lines.” Students are assigned readings and videos each week and asked to select a golden line from each passage that particularly resonated with them, they felt best captured the reading/video, or something that left them with confusion, and to explain their selection and then pose one question for each golden line to their peers. Students were then required to answer two different peer questions to engage in the content more deeply from the text itself or an outside source. This process models a more Socratic and inclusive approach to teaching in which some students lead a discussion while others engage in asking questions of their peers.

For this session, participants will experience a synchronous version (and are encouraged to prepare for this session from the assignment: In this activity, students gain the basic overview of climate, climate change, some of the mechanics of climate change nuances as well as the intersection of climate change and racism. Including the role of racism in the geosciences contextualizes the scientific content to help students better appreciate the nuances that come with both the harm that has occurred and the work that needs to be done. By engaging in these challenging conversations, students must work past the general rhetoric that science is apolitical or neutral and start to dig more deeply into the racist context of how science can both help and harm, while also empowering students to be included in the conversation.