Geoscience is Elementary

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


Kim Cheek, University of North Florida

Are you interested in engaging elementary school aged children in authentic geoscience learning? Would you like to learn how to support in-service and pre-service elementary teachers to improve the quality of their instruction? If so, this workshop is for you. We will focus on geoscience topics and investigations that are appropriate for elementary learners, while emphasizing strategies, principles, and tips for working with young learners and their teachers. We will also explore ways to help students develop a science identity. Participants will have an opportunity to share their own insights from working with elementary teachers or students.


By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Identify appropriate content and challenges related to authentic geoscience learning for elementary students and their teachers
  • Determine strategies to help elementary students and teachers develop a science identity
  • Examine learning activities appropriate for teaching geoscience topics in elementary school


(Program starts at 1:15 p.m. PT, 2:15 p.m. MT, 3:15 p.m. CT, and 4:15 p.m. ET. Times below are represented as hour minute to standardize among time zones. 0:15 means 1:15 PT, 2:15, MT, 3:15 CT, and 4:15 ET.)

0:15 Welcome, introductions, and workshop overview

0:30 What should elementary students (and their teachers) learn about geoscience?

0:45 Learning activities and strategies for elementary geoscience teaching

1:20 Break

1:35 Developing a science identity--StoryJumper

1:50 Work on StoryJumper books in breakout rooms

2:20 Share StoryJumper books in progress with whole group

2:35 Wrap-up and workshop evaluation

2:45 Adjourn

Before the Mini Workshop

  • Go to StoryJumper and sign up for a free account. Explore the site if you have time.
  • Locate some digital photos of yourself related to your geoscience journey. These could include photos of you as a child, you engaged in your work or hobbies. Note: This will be helpful but don't stress if you don't have photos. You will be able to participate in the activity.


  • A good starting place to learn more about helping students develop a science identity Develop Students' Science Identity
  • Great resource for geoscience investigations appropriate for elementary students and their teachers Science and Children
  • One of many books by Page Keeley and colleagues with formative assessment probes you can use with elementary students and their teachers Uncovering Students' Ideas in Earth and Environmental Science
  • Rhodon, J. (Ed.), (2018). Preparing teachers for three-dimensional instruction. NSTA Press.
  • Schwarz, C.V., Pasmore, C., & Reiser, B.J. (Eds.), (2017). Helping students make sense of the world using Next Generation Science and Engineering Practices,NSTA Press.
  • Nordine, J. & Lee, O. (Eds.), (2021). Crosscutting concepts strengthening science and engineering learning,NSTA Press.
  • The original water cycle modeling activity: modeling the water cycle.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 723kB Jul14 21)