IGUaNA: Introducing Geophysics for Urban and Near-surface Applications

Monday 3:00pm Tate 105


Carol Ormand, Carleton College
Sarah Kruse, University of South Florida
Andrew Parsekian, University of Wyoming
Lee Slater, Rutgers University-Newark
John Taber, IRIS Consortium
Tonian Robinson, University of South Florida
Christine Downs, Sandia National Labs
Recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce begins with attracting a diverse student population into the geosciences. One key step in this process is transforming our curricula, looking beyond traditional topics and approaches. The IGUaNA project, Introducing Geophysics for Urban and Near-surface Applications, has developed a set of curricular modules that apply seismic, electrical resistivity, and ground penetrating radar techniques to societally-relevant, real-world problems. These materials were developed through a collaboration of IRIS Education and Public Outreach, geophysics faculty members, and the Science Education Resource Center (SERC), building on expertise in both geophysics and pedagogy. The modules develop students' quantitative and critical thinking skills by using authentic datasets to evaluate salt marsh pollution and restoration, locate and identify historical burial grounds and urban infrastructure, and inform an urban renewal planning process. Teaching materials are designed for introductory-level undergraduate courses such as earth science, environmental science, geology, geophysics, physics, engineering, geography, or chemistry. Optional parts of the modules also provide instruction in having the students collect their own data sets, and IRIS has some field equipment which can be borrowed to collect the data. These NSF-funded resources have been peer-reviewed and pilot tested in a variety of undergraduate classrooms, revised based on feedback from instructors and students, and published on the SERC-hosted project website. Data from pilot testing shows positive impacts on students' confidence in solving geophysical problems as well as their interest in geophysics and related careers. A module on gravity and magnetic methods and an accompanying module on geophysics careers are in development.