Geology of New York: Role in the Program
Page developed for SERC by Gary Solar of Buffalo State College.
A discussion of the design and implementation of a course revolving around local geology serving pre-service teachers at Buffalo State College, created by Gary Solar.
A description of this course and its goals is available.
What Role Does this Course Play in Teacher Preparation?
The course is intended to help in-service (and to some extent pre-service) science teachers understand the geology of the state in order to be better prepared to teach the New York state "regents" Earth Science curriculum. Secondarily, successful students are much better prepared to think like a scientist while teaching the next generation of scientists (high-school students).
How does the Course Address Each Role?
The course is an integrated and systematic approach to learning the geology of New York State, which is just about every type of geology there is, over more than 1.5 billion years of Earth history. Therefore, the course design is such that there is more than adequate opportunity to learn about the state's geological aspects, but, almost necessarily, the course is integrative so the scientific method must be used in order to understand anything.
How do Students Integrate Learning & Teaching?
The course is designed such that students perform laboratories, integrated into the lecture, but also a term project focused on an aspect of New York State geology, that requires each student to synthesize process geology. Also, the project has an oral presentation requirement, one to the class, and another designed for a high-school Earth Science classroom.
How does the Course Transition Pre-service Teachers into the Classroom?
Completion of the course means that a teacher is very well prepared to teach Earth Science to a student who is a New York State resident, learning the "regents" (of New York State) Earth Science curriculum. Again, also, the teacher is teaching as a scientist as much as possible, rather than as a regurgitator of "factoids".
How is the Course Content Aligned with the National Science Education Standards?
I am not certain, however I am sure they are aligned.
How does the Course Meet Certification Requirements?
Earth Science teachers are required to understand the geology of New York state in order to pass the Content Exam for Secondary Teachers administered by the certifying body of the state.
What Challenges have been Encountered in Teaching this Course? How have they been Resolved?
There is an awful lot of information to be conveyed when teaching about the geology of any particular region, rather than teaching about a particular discipline in the Earth Sciences. Therefore, it is a challenge to find adequate time with which to deliver the class. This is an ongoing issue to be addressed.