GER and K-12 Audiences

Carla McAuliffe, TERC

Whenever possible, I have translated Geoscience Education Research (GER) to K-12 audiences. This began with my PhD dissertation (Visualizing Topography) and later, at TERC with the Earth Science by Design project ( and has continued through my current NSF-funded project, EarthScope Chronicles ( I am interested in translating geoscience education research to K-12 teachers for two purposes: 1) to highlight research-based pedagogical and assessment strategies congruent with the Next Generation Science Standards and 2) to apply findings from the geoscience spatial learning literature. There is also a need to connect Geoscientists with K-12 classroom teachers. Frequently, the stories Geoscientists know and share transcend typical textbook descriptions of Earth science and can be motivating when collaborating with teachers. I also have a keen interest in working with elementary (K-5) teachers as they strive to implement NGSS in the Earth sciences.

Several key papers and presentations influence my thinking:

  • Penuel, W. (2016). Classroom Assessment Strategies for NGSS Earth and Space Sciences. Implementing the NGSS Webinar Series, February 11, 2016
  • LaDue, Nicole D., Julie C. Libarkin, and Stephen R. Thomas. "Visual Representations on High School Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics Assessments." Journal of Science Education and Technology 24.6 (2015): 818-834.
  • Rivet, A. E. and Kastens, K. A. (2012), Developing a construct-based assessment to examine students' analogical reasoning around physical models in Earth Science. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 49: 713–743. doi: 10.1002/tea.21029
  • Libarkin, J.C., and Schneps, M.H., (2012). Elementary children's retrodictive reasoning about earth science: International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 5(1), 47-62.
I am keenly interested in connecting with others interested in translating K-12 GER into practice as well as conducting research with others in this population.