TerraElm: An exercise in earth science instruction

Tuesday 4:30pm-5:30pm Red Gym
Poster Session


Peter Anderson, Wharton County Junior College
Public science education is a not just a service industry for the community it can also act as a tool by which graduate students in the field of Earth Science can be trained. The classroom setting is often a relatively low-stress and fun environment for grad students to develop their communication abilities, but it also requires them to address a much less informed audience. This method can be evaluated through a qualitative study of the participants directly involved in the school presentations. To gain efficacy in teaching to the level of your audience the graduate student participants are required to, by necessity, develop a curriculum that K-12 students can process and actively engage.

The participants in this program learn communicative skills, which we as graduate students typically develop in graduate school, through a trial and error process. Participants in our program, both improve their overall comprehension of the subject material as well as their ability to communicate it. Initial assessments of the merits of participation within this program show a positive correlation between participation and a perceived improved instructional ability. We are actively evaluating additional qualitative assessments to allow us to test the validity of our initial results.

This program and its philosophy provide justification for the development of new instructional techniques that take advantage of graduate students that enjoy the teaching process. This program needs to be seen as more than just civic engagement within college adjacent communities, but as a potential teaching practicum that benefits the graduate students too.

Presentation Media

my entire poster (Acrobat (PDF) 5.3MB Jul19 16)