Dali-esque sand sculpture
Dali-inspired sand sculpture from the Seventh International Sand Sculpture Festival. Photo by Roger Haworth, shared on Wikimedia Commons.

Workshop Overview

Note: This workshop has already taken place.

This workshop will provide opportunities to explore temporal concepts across the curriculum and to discuss implications for teaching and learning. Key temporal concepts include time scales and timelines, ranging from the scale of human history to Deep Time; the rates of natural processes, particularly geological and biological processes; and the cumulative effects of rare, high impact events and of very slow, long duration events. We will showcase successful strategies for addressing the cognitive challenges in understanding these concepts.

Workshop Goals

Workshop participants will

  • Develop an understanding of the cognitive challenges involved in learning temporal concepts, including persistent misconceptions;
  • Share successful strategies for teaching about time, across the curriculum;
  • Develop collections of resources that showcase strong methods for teaching temporal concepts; and
  • Form a network of educators and researchers who can lead the community to an understanding of best practices in teaching about time.

Workshop activities will include presentations, large and small group discussions, and planning/writing sessions. Instructional materials and other information will be organized and compiled as collections of digital resources for use in science education throughout the world.


The workshop will begin at 5 PM on Sunday, February 26, 2012, and will end after dinner on Tuesday, February 28. Participants must attend all sessions.


Participants are expected to:

  • Contribute a narrative essay about their experience/expertise related to teaching and learning about time, to be posted on the workshop website prior to the workshop;
  • Contribute one or more of the following, prior to the workshop, illustrating an effective strategy for teaching about time: teaching activity, assessment, course description, or visualization with a description of its use in the classroom;
  • Prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings or other activities developed by workshop leaders;
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop; and
  • Share what they learn with colleagues.


Participants or their home institutions must pay for transportation to and from the workshop, hotel room, and most meals (breakfast and lunches will be on your own at local restaurants). There will also be a registration fee of $50 to reserve your place at the workshop. Workshop resources, facilities and dinners will be covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-1022680, DUE-1022776, DUE-1022844, and DUE-1022910). In cases where the financial cost of the workshop is a barrier to participation, we will be able to offer stipends to help defray workshop expenses. For more information about financial assistance please visit the workshop stipends page. The deadline for applications for stipends was January 2, 2012 (the same date as the workshop applications were due).

Application and Selection Criteria

Workshop applications were due by January 2, 2012. The workshop is limited to 30 participants. The final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group with expertise in teaching about time across the curriculum, research expertise in temporal learning, a spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, and a diversity of participants. Preference will be given to applicants who hold faculty positions at colleges and universities. Applicants will be notified of selection in January. For more information visit the general information for workshop participants page.


The workshop will be held at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Participants will stay at the Sheraton Four Points Tempe and will eat most meals on campus.

For More Information

Please contact Carol Ormand (cormand@carleton.edu, 608-213-1618).