Using Geophysics to Address Societally-Relevant, Urban and Environmental Questions in Introductory-Level Geoscience Courses

Thursday 1:15-3:45pm PT / 2:15-4:45pm MT / 3:15-5:45pm CT / 4:15-6:45pm ET Online
Afternoon Mini Workshop


Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College
Andrew Parsekian, University of Wyoming
Lee Slater, Rutgers University-Newark
Sarah Kruse, University of South Florida
John Taber, EarthScope Consortium

The IGUaNA project, Introducing Geophysics for Urban and Near-surface Applications, has developed a set of curricular modules that feature the applications of shallow geophysical techniques to societally-relevant, real-world problems and are designed to attract a more diverse population of students to the geosciences. These modules support the development of students' quantitative and critical thinking skills by providing meaningful opportunities to apply those skills using authentic datasets related to examining salt marsh pollution and restoration, identifying historical burial grounds and urban infrastructure, and urban renewal planning. In this workshop, participants will explore the curricular materials developed by the IGUaNA project through a deep dive into the modules with time to work through at least one of the activities or assignments. Small groups of participants will also discuss and plan for integrating some portion of the curricular materials into their own teaching.

These modules are designed for use in introductory geology, earth science, environmental science, environmental studies, geophysics, physics, engineering, geography, or chemistry courses.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Be familiar with the 3 IGUaNA modules:
    • Measuring depth to bedrock for an urban renewal project using seismic refraction
    • Pipes, tree roots or unmarked graves? Using Ground Penetrating Radar for forensic geophysics
    • Evaluating the health of an urban wetland using electrical resistivity
  • Have an understanding of where and how IGUaNA materials would fit into the courses they teach
  • Become part of a network of educators interested in teaching about geophysics through real-world urban and environmental applications


The workshop begins at 1:15 Pacific / 2:15 Mountain / 3:15 Central / 4:15 Eastern


In the schedule below,
X = 1 Pacific, 2 Mountain, 3 Central, 4 Eastern
Y = 2 Pacific, 3 Mountain, 4 Central, 5 Eastern
Z = 3 Pacific, 4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern

X:15-X:25 Welcome and introductions (all)

X:25-X:30 Overview of the IGUaNA project and its goals (John)

X:30-X:50 Brief description of each of the 3 modules:

X:50-Y:45 Breakout rooms: Exploring one module in depth; working through an example activity

During the workshop, participants will be able to access the full module materials, which are not yet publicly available.

Y:45-Y:55 Break

After the break, we will resume promptly at 2:55 Pacific / 3:55 Mountain / 4:55 Central / 5:55 Eastern



In the schedule below, 
Y = 2 Pacific, 3 Mountain, 4 Central, 5 Eastern
Z = 3 Pacific, 4 Mountain, 5 Central, 6 Eastern

Y:55-Z:20 Jigsaw: Small groups of participants share what they learned about the module they explored in depth; discussions of how these materials could fit into courses

  • ~15 minutes (5 minutes / module): Share what you find most compelling about the module you explored, and any outstanding questions you have about it
  • ~10 minutes: Develop / discuss plans for incorporating one or more modules into one of your courses

The project has funding to pay modest stipends to workshop participants who develop robust plans to implement some of the IGUaNA curricular materials in one or more courses. To earn a stipend, you must complete this implementation plan description by August 15, 2021.

Z:20-Z:40 Q&A with project team and feedback to module authors

Z:40-Z:45 Wrap-up and workshop evaluation


IGUaNA Teaching Materials: Mini-workshop participants will have access to these materials, which are not yet published