- To understand how Earth Science can be addressed from our own observations of the earth's surface.
- To understand how the paradigm of plate tectonics was developed and be able to use it to explain and predict earth phenomena
- To be able to describe and predict weather phenomena
- To gain awareness of how the physical processes in the earth and atmosphere are related to students' own and their future students lives
The Earth Science course focuses on Geology and also covers topics in Oceanography, Meteorology, and Planetary Geology and includes 4 to 6 field labs that model how scientists examine geologic outcrops. Students make observations and interpretations during field experiences and as the term progresses take on more independence. Students learn the process of field geologic observation and cover content in labs that includes learning to identify different types of rocks.
Following field experiences, students write a local geology report drawing a cross section of the local geology observed in field labs and providing a time line of events. Student then pick specific events, such as intrusion of granite, and explain how their observations provide clues to the cause of specific geologic events.
Other forms of assessment used in this course include:
- Quizes following each lab to address key points
- Field test (using a new location, students independently work up a cross section and write a geologic history)
- Lab test on rock and mineral identification
- Concept maps
- Short-answer tests
- Semester projects that vary and can include:
- Interacting with a network of teachers in the community to observe science teaching, followed by a written report of their experience.
- Writing a children's book about an Earth Science topic
- Writing a report about an Earth resource
References and Notes:
Earth Science (Geol 106) at UW-Eau Claire is a course formatted to address Earth Science content. However, several mechanisms are in place to weave issues related to science education into the course. Particular attention is placed on engendering confidence in pre-service teachers and modeling teaching practices that they can use in their future classrooms. For example, while identifying rocks and minerals is a skill that is assessed in the course, the long-term goal is that when students encounter a child bringing a rock into their future classroom, they can "launch into an exciting story about the earth".