James Ebert

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Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
SUNY College at Oneonta

I am a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and former Interim Dean of Science and Social Science at State University of New York (SUNY) Oneonta where I have taught since 1985. First, as a senior member of the department and then as chair, I helped guide my department through a wave of retirements and other turnover events that have resulted in an 80% change in the faculty. My research interests include carbonate sedimentology, stratigraphy, Devonian time scale calibration and geoscience education, particularly the role of dual credit courses in recruiting geoscience majors. I direct the Oneonta Earth Science Outreach Program (ESOP), which enables 28 high schools in several states to offer dual credit geoscience courses. I created and host the ESPRIT listserv that connects over 1800 Earth Science teachers from 26 states and 3 countries in an online professional development community. I unabashedly use this forum to provide information on careers in the geosciences and the crisis in the geoscience workforce.

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activities (12)

Paleoecology Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity gives students practice in identifying fossils in the context of assemblages and allows them to make paleoecological interpretations.

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Designing a sedimentary geology course around field-based class projects that yield publishable research part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Field-based research projects can be the heart of a course in sedimentary geology. Course content, organization, readings and laboratory experiences are dictated by the nature of the specific project. Less content may be "covered" with this approach, but students' depth of understanding, sense of accomplishment, and growth in confidence are greatly enhanced. Scientific reasoning skills, which are generally not addressed in the traditional lecture/lab format, increase noticeably. Using this approach, 50% of class projects over 4 years were of sufficient merit to present at regional GSA conferences.

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Unit 1: How Do the Methods of Geoscience Compare with THE Scientific Method? part of Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students
This activity introduces geoscientific thinking to a primarily non-geoscience audience. This is the introductory activity of a module designed for pre-service secondary science teachers in a secondary science teaching methods course. Initially, students explore their conceptions of the scientific method. Through readings and discussion, the activity attempts to broaden the students' view of the nature of science by showing how geoscience methods differ from stereotypical experimental science. This introductory activity uses a seminar format (writing/reading/discussing/writing).

InTeGrate Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. Science review is pending.
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Unit 2: Climate Change, After the Storm part of Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students
The goal of Unit 2 is for students to apply what they learned about the methods of geoscience to complete an authentic and data-rich, lab-based activity to address the following problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" Students collect, organize, and analyze spatial and temporal data (e.g., changes in sea level, ice sheet coverage, and intensity of tropical cyclone data) and visualizations (temperature forecast models under various CO2 emissions scenarios). Students also read a scientific summary report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Using these sources, students identify relationships from the multiple converging lines of evidence to write an evidenced-based position paper to respond to the above problem.

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Unit 3: Discovering Curricular Resources and Teaching Interdisciplinary Lessons that Incorporate the Methods of Geoscience part of Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students
This unit provides pre-service teachers in methods courses with resources for teaching geoscience content and utilizing the methods of geoscience. Pre-service teachers will prepare an annotated bibliography of instructional resources in the areas of geology, meteorology/climatology, oceanography, and astronomy. They will select one of these resources and prepare a full lesson plan based on the resource that emphasizes the methods of geoscience and also incorporates interdisciplinary material from either biology, chemistry, physics, or the social sciences.

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Activity 2.1: The Issue part of Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students
Activity 2.1 motivates and engages students through the issue of climate change in a socioscientific context. This activity first assesses students' prior knowledge and then familiarizes students with a data-rich, interdisciplinary exploration of the human impacts of global climate change by watching a video about climate change, analyzing CO2 and temperature data, and critically reading an editorial about Hurricane Sandy.

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Activity 2.2: Issue Investigation part of Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students
During Activity 2.2, students download, organize, and analyze geoscience data sets of sea level trends, terrestrial ice sheet trends, and intensity of tropical cyclones as well as forecast models of atmospheric CO2 and temperature trends and sea level rise. Students utilize the methods of geoscience such as systems thinking and using multiple lines of evidence to determine possible relationships and feedbacks among the data sets. Students use this data to construct their argument from evidence for a position paper in Activity 2.3.

InTeGrate Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. Science review is pending.
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Activity 2.3: Constructing the Argument part of Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students
In Activity 2.3, students make an argument from evidence to address the problem: "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" Students work as a team to complete a graphic organizer. This task helps them organize an evidence-based position paper. Each student writes his or her own position paper.

InTeGrate Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. Science review is pending.
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Taphonomy Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This lab introduces students to the many modes by which fossils may be preserved.

Rickard Hill Field Project: Peering Into Deep Time part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this field activity, students make observations of the texture, lithology and fauna of two limestone units and use this information to reconstuct paleoenvironments, how these environments changed through time and propose mechanisms that could have produced the observed changes.

Class Research Project: Visualizing Large-Scale Earth Processes and Abstract Concepts part of Teacher Preparation:Resource Collections:Activities
In this class research project, students will: Conceptualize and develop at least one simple apparatus or model which will accurately model an abstract or large-scale Earth process. Further refine the apparatus to ensure that it is safe, easy to use, inexpensive, and constructed from materials that are readily available. Disseminate information regarding the developed apparatus to in-service teachers Learn more about the course for which this activity was developed.

Discovering the Principles of Relative Age Determination a Think-Pair-Share In-Class Activity part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
In this in-class activity, students are challenged to identify rock units and geologic features and determine the relative ages of these features without prior instruction in the classical methods of relative age determination. Field photographs and satellite images are the data from which students make their observations and interpretations. Students are introduced to the formal language of relative age interpretation after this experience with employing the concepts.

Courses (3)

Designing a sedimentary geology course around field-based class projects that yield publishable research part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Field-based research projects can be the heart of a course in sedimentary geology. Course content, organization, readings and laboratory experiences are dictated by the nature of the specific project. Less content may be "covered" with this approach, but students' depth of understanding, sense of accomplishment, and growth in confidence are greatly enhanced. Scientific reasoning skills, which are generally not addressed in the traditional lecture/lab format, increase noticeably. Using this approach, 50% of class projects over 4 years were of sufficient merit to present at regional GSA conferences.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.

Earth History and the Fossil Record part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Courses
This course is an overview of the history of the Earth with emphasis on how we know this history. Lectures focus on major events in Earth history and labs develop skills in observation and techniques used to interpret Earth History. The course culminates with a field project in which the students reconstruct the geologic history represented in a complex outcrop.

State University of New York at Oneonta: Laboratory Investigations in Earth Science part of Teacher Preparation:Resource Collections:Courses
This course is designed to provide students with opportunities and experiences that will enable them to teach inquiry-based earth science. The focus is on the unifying concepts and processes of science as applied to planet Earth. The specific Earth Science content from the New York State Physical Setting: Earth Core Curriculum, supplemented by National Science Education Standards (NRC 1996) will provide the backdrop for the exploration and development of inquiry-based laboratory experiences. Students will participate in laboratory experiences that model inquiry-based instruction; they will design and present laboratory investigations, activities and demonstrations that will model science as inquiry. Content and instruction in this course are consistent with the NSES, NSTA Standards and New York's MST Learning Standards. For Dr. Ebert's reflections on the course and its design, see Laboratory Techniques in Earth Science: Role in the Program.

Essays (2)

SUNY Oneonta: Workforce Preparation for Majors in Geology, Water Resources, Earth Science and Meteorology part of Integrate:Workshops:Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce:Essays
James Ebert, SUNY Oneonta As a multidisciplinary Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, we provide four majors for our students: Geology, Water Resources (hydrogeology), Earth Science and Meteorology. Each ...

Lithic literacy and the "forensic" methods of geoscience part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Essays
Lithic literacy and the "forensic" methods of geoscienceJames R. Ebert, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, State University of New York, College at Oneonta My approach to teaching the methods of geoscience ...

Other Contributions (5)

Majors in Geology, Water Resources, Meteorology and Earth Science at SUNY Oneonta part of Integrate:Workshops:Geoscience and the 21st Century Workforce:Programs
Information for this profile was provided by James Ebert, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, SUNY Oneonta. Information is also available on the program website. Students in these programs are pursuing bachelors ...

Earth History and the Fossil Record part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Course Supplement Collection
James R. Ebert, State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oneonta.This page is a supplement to the original course description found hereShort description of the course:This is an historical geology course in ...

Sedimentary Geology part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Course Supplement Collection
James Ebert, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, SUNY College at Oneonta.This page is a supplement to the original course description found hereShort description of the course:Field-based research projects can be the ...

Increasing students' comprehension of assigned readings and participation in class discussions through QRS - an active reading strategy part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Students seldom achieve the level of learning that we intend with assigned readings. Likewise, they do not participate in class discussions of these readings as extensively as we would like. Through QRS, an active reading strategy, students' reading comprehension is improved and they come to class with written material that facilitates greater participation in classroom discourse. Written QRS assignments also function as formative assessments which enable faculty to diagnose gaps in student understanding and effectively target subsequent instruction.

Theme Group 2: Earth Science for Secondary Teachers - Systems and Models part of Teacher Preparation:Workshops and Activities:Workshop 2007
Group Members Eric Pyle, History and Philosophy of the Geosciences James Ebert, Laboratory Techniques in Earth Science William Slattery, Earth Systems Jill Singer, Oceanography Sandra Rutherford, Methods for ...


Events and Communities

InTeGrate Materials Developers

Sedimentary Geology Workshop 06

Teacher Preparation Workshop 2007 Participants

Teaching Paleontology Workshop 2009 Participants

Strengthening Your Geoscience Program Participants

Early Career Workshop 2010 Participants: Leader

ITG Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop 2012

Career Development Jan 2013 webinar (Jigsaws)