Workshop Overview

Note: This workshop has already taken place.

The workshop will provide opportunities to learn more about energy issues, as well as focus on how we teach about energy and geoscience. Participants will share and discuss current examples, while exploring how we might better integrate energy in geoscience courses and beyond. Scientific presentations will discuss the changing face of energy, including traditional, renewable and emerging technologies. Discussions of policy and economic considerations will also take place. Workshop participants will also collaborate to create new materials for classroom use.

power grid

The goals of the workshop are to:

  • Explore the role of energy in our current and future geoscience courses and create strategies for effectively teaching this complex topic.
  • Learn more about the emerging science of energy supplies, energy use and potential methods for offsetting environmental drawbacks of different types of energy use.
  • Understand the interconnectedness of energy science with other components of energy policy such as economic, political, legal or social perspectives.
  • Learn pedagogic strategies and approaches that are well suited to this complex topic
  • Collect and create examples of educational materials that can be used to teach about energy
  • Create a network of scientists, policymakers, economists, educators and others who can collectively increase our ability to teach energy issues effectively.

Workshop activities will include presentations, large and small group discussions, demonstrations, and planning/writing sessions. Instructional materials and other information will be organized and compiled as collections of digital resources to support teaching about energy and geoscience around the world.

This workshop is one of the 2008-2009 emerging themes offerings which are designed to move critical ideas and concepts into the mainstream of geoscience education. Participants are sought who are leaders in the field and are committed to participating in follow-on activities. For further information of emerging theme workshops, potential follow-on activities, and action plans investigate our general description of these workshops or examples from previous workshops such as The Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience, Teaching about the Early Earth and Urban Students, Urban Issues.


The workshop will begin on Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2009 and will end after dinner on Tuesday, May 19. Participants must attend all sessions. The field trip is optional and will be held on Wednesday, May 20.


Participants are expected to:

  • Contribute one or more of the following:
    • A fully developed activity used to teach about energy at the undergraduate level (example: Simulation of international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions).
    • A description of a course about energy (example: Geology and the Environment Note that this example illustrates the format, but not the content of an energy-related course).
    • A web-based informational resource that can be used to teach about energy. The target audience of the material may be either faculty or undergraduate students. Please contact the workshop conveners or Karin Kirk (kkirk at for further clarification.
  • Prepare in advance for the workshop via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders.
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop.
  • Submission of a poster for the poster session is strongly encouraged.
  • Be leaders in follow-on activities.

oil pump

The operational costs of the workshop as well as room, board, and workshop materials are covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-0127310). Participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. In cases of unusual hardship, we will be able to offer a few small stipends to help defray travel costs (Application deadline March 30, 2009). For more information about travel funds please visit the workshop stipends page.

The optional field trip will cost $75 per person, and stipends for the field trip are available separately from the travel stipends. If you need a field trip stipend, please contact Karin Kirk.

Application and Selection Criteria

Your online application must be submitted by March 9, 2009. The workshop size is limited to 30 participants. The final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group with expertise in geoscience education, energy science, policy or economics as well as a spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, and a diversity of participants. Preference is given to applicants who hold faculty positions at colleges and universities. A special program from the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources has made 15 additional places available for Wyoming high school science teachers, and this program will also support University of Wyoming faculty and Wyoming community college faculty. Applicants will be notified of selection by late March. For more information visit the general information for workshop participants page.


The workshop will be held at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY. Participants will be housed in a hotel and will eat meals on campus and in the town.

For More Information

Please contact Cathy Manduca (, 507 222-7096).