Initial Publication Date: April 8, 2011

Climate and Energy Webinar Series: May 13, 2011 - Webinar

Marcellus Shale gas drilling tower
Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marcellus Shale Formation for natural gas, from Pennsylvania

It's a Gas, Gas, Gas: Developing a Semester-long Class Project on Natural Gas Exploration using the Jigsaw Method - Devin Castendyk, State University of New York, College at Oneonta

Webinar goal - To assist educators by showcasing an example of an interdisciplinary, semester-long Jigsaw project that evaluates the potential positive and negative impacts of local energy resource development. The presentation will provide an example Jigsaw project on the development natural gas resources from the Marcellus Shale in upstate New York.
- 9:00 am Pacific | 10:00 pm Mountain | 11:00 pm Central | 12:00 pm Eastern
Duration - 1 hour. The presentation will be 45 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of discussion.
Format - Online web presentation via phone and Elluminate web conference software with questions and answers following.
- There is no registration fee, but registration is required to save a space (space is limited to 40). Registration closes when the spaces fill or the Sunday night before each event, whichever comes first.
Contact - For questions contact Karin Kirk or Katryn Wiese (kkirk at or katryn.wiese at

Recent exploration for domestic energy resources has fueled intense public debates in small communities that have no prior history of extractive industries or energy production. In the case of natural gas development from the Marcellus Shale, the debate has received national attention including the Academy-Award-nominated documentary "Gasland" and a special issue of Time Magazine. Such issues provide excellent opportunities to engage both majors and non-majors in an interdisciplinary, team-based research project.This presentation demonstrates the use of a semester-long Jigsaw project that investigates the impacts of a hypothetical natural gas well constructed on campus. The project culminates in a debate where students argue the pro's and con's of local gas development and establish an energy policy for the college. The project can easily be modified to address any energy resource of local interest.

Dr. Castendyk is an assistant professor in the Earth Sciences Department at the State University of New York, College at Oneonta. His research explores the environmental impacts of metal, coal, and oil-sands mining operations on the quantity and quality of post-mining water resources.

References from this Presentation

Screencast of this presentation (Quicktime Video 289.4MB May13 11)

Marcellus Shale Jigsaw Project Presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 3.8MB Apr11 11)

Watch the Screencast (MP4 Video 85.7MB May13 11)

Evaluating the Effects of Local Energy Resource Development - Dr. Castendyk's jigsaw activity

Jigsaws - This module offers information on this cooperative learning technique, why and how to use it in the classroom, example activities and references.

Related References

Gasland -- the movie

Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing Authors: Stephen G. Osborn, Avner Vengosh, Nathaniel R. Warner, and Robert B. Jackson -- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of natural gas from shale formations (Acrobat (PDF) 464kB May13 11)

Independent oil & gas producers of NY