Thursday B: Teaching Online

Thursday 1:30pm-4:00pm Tate 105
Oral Session Part of Thursday B: Teaching Online

Session Chairs

Robin Tanamachi, Purdue University-Main Campus
Alec Aitken, University of Saskatchewan


1:45pm
Using an online storm chasing game as a vehicle to teach meteorology
Robin Tanamachi, Purdue University-Main Campus
Loran Parker, Purdue University-Main Campus
Ryan Koopmans, Simchi Corp.

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This presentation will describe the integration of a no-cost, web-based, online game (Stormslam) in a meteorology-focused, general science course at Purdue University in Spring 2021. In Stormslam, players engage in a virtual storm chasing, moving an imaginary vehicle around the continental United States at highway speeds and planting "probes" at designated drop sites. Scores are based on a combination of observed winds and precipitation at the sites. The purpose of integrating the game into the course was to create friendly competition between all learners (in-person and remote), improve weather forecasting skill, and improve awareness of current weather patterns. Students were further asked to distill their gameplay strategy into a short essay, which their classmates peer-reviewed. Survey responses indicated that the game did indeed increase students' awareness of current weather and their weather forecasting skill, as well as their "meteorological literacy." One limitation of this study is that respondents self-selected for those who played the game most often (two or more times per week). Overall, the game proved to be an effective teaching tool for both in-person and remote students.
2:00pm
Introducing a virtual database of rock outcrops of Southern Ontario
Paul Ashwell, University of Toronto
Sheila Ballantyne, University of Toronto
Heidi Daxberger, University of Toronto
Phillip Ruscica, University of Toronto
Paolo Attanasio, University of Toronto
Aneila Ghanie, University of Toronto
Andreia Hamid, University of Toronto
Cheng Peng, University of Toronto
Jessica Wanzo, University of Toronto
Debora Rios, University of Toronto

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A fundamental aspect of undergraduate Earth Science teaching is the application of knowledge and theory learned in the classroom on rock outcrops during field trips. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in person field teaching was no longer viable and so we were forced to reimagine teaching approaches and find ways to integrate local and field-based geology in a novel virtual classroom setting, while still facilitating active and experiential learning and maintaining high Professional Registration standards.In 2021, the Government of Ontario created the eCampus Virtual Learning Strategy to help fund and produce virtual content for secondary and tertiary students. As part of this initiative, we have produced a virtual database of rock outcrops, thin sections, geochemistry and hand samples from a variety of locations showcasing the geology of Southern Ontario.The "Virtual Petrographic Atlas of Southern Ontario" is a growing virtual resource that offers digital materials and resources in freely accessible Pressbooks, which are linked to the eCampus website. To ensure usability of the resources for student learning assessments, more detailed field site descriptions and materials are withheld from the public site and made available only upon request for instructors. Here, we will present two of the Virtual Atlases: The Central Gneiss Belt and The Central Metasedimentary Belt, and how to plan to implement these Atlases within our undergraduate curriculum as well as plans for expansion of the project.
2:15pm
Finding the Silver Lining: Positive outcomes from the pivot to virtual for instructor professional development and teaching resources in classroom and field geoscience
Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College
Bruce Douglas, Indiana University-Bloomington
Ben Crosby, Idaho State University
Sharon Bywater-Reyes, University of Northern Colorado
Donna Charlevoix, UNAVCO

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GETSI (GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues) is an NSF-funded program that develops and disseminates data-rich and societally relevant curriculum for undergraduate field and classroom teaching (serc.carleton.edu/getsi). The original 2020-21 dissemination plan was entirely in-person workshops. After the COVID19 pandemic onset, the project pivoted to an online dissemination model and convened a mini short course series (n=324) and two virtual field teaching short courses (n=31) and collaborated on the development of a two-week remote field course (n=24).The "Virtual Mini Short Course Series" (October 2020-April 2021) included nine 2-hour mini-courses, each devoted to one GETSI module. Unlike a webinar, the majority of the mini-course consisted of time for participants to work individually and collaboratively through portions of the student exercises, discuss teaching ideas and develop a plan for implementation. They included a variety of active learning strategies including think-pair-shares, polling, report-outs, gallery tours, and jigsaws. The series attracted a wider range of participants from a broader range of institutions than many in-person events. Participants could choose to attend one or more of the mini-courses, depending on their area(s) of interest. Participants could earn a small stipend for completing an implementation plan for using GETSI.The two virtual short courses "Teaching in the Field with SfM and GPS" brought together graduate students and college/university faculty into an online learning cohort. Each institutional team received GPS survey receivers to practice with for several weeks and the cohort worked through similar field tasks separately, while periodically reconvening online to share challenges and accomplishments. Six of the 14 participating institutions have subsequently taught with the same equipment. The remote field course "Using High-Resolution Topography to Understand Earth Surface Processes", taught by Bywater-Reyes, used jointly collected prepared data sets and adapted GETSI field modules and related materials to a remote delivery mode.
2:30pm
Challenges and Successes of Teaching Lab-Based Earth Science Courses Remotely

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Teaching labs online during the pandemic has been a challenge faced by many instructors in courses designed for in-person delivery. In petrology courses, labs rely nearly entirely on the observation of rocks in hand sample (3D objects) and thin section using a petrographic microscope. Microscopes have many operable parts (e.g., stage rotation, upper polarizer and lambda-plate, Bertrand lens, etc.) that make the transfer of labs to an online modality challenging. How, then, does one engage students in making physical observations of hand samples and investigating the optical properties of minerals in thin section behind a computer monitor? To engage students in this hands-on laboratory course and enable them to achieve the learning goals set up for an in-person course, several interactive online tools were used to bring the microscope and petrological concepts to students' screens using interactive platforms (ThingLink), low-stakes interactive and visual pre-lab quizzes (Canvas), and 3D-scanned hand samples (using Qlone phone-base photogrammetry). Using these tools, students were able to independently explore rocks at different scales, including identifying minerals in thin section. Students learned the optical properties of minerals through a collection of images (100+ per sample) integrated in a single interactive 'virtual thin section' environment that linked in situ views of samples at various magnifications (in both plane- and cross-polarized light) with associated videos of 360º microscope stage rotations for observations of properties that change depending on the orientation of the minerals (e.g., pleochroism, birefringence, optic axis figures). This material was accompanied by synchronous recorded lectures, synchronous and asynchronous 'open lab' sessions, and interactive online activities that took students from observations of minerals in thin section to interpretations of field-grounded conditions of petrogenesis (e.g., pressure and temperature), and tectonic-scale implications for dynamic solid-earth processes involved in igneous and metamorphic rock petrogenesis.
2:45pm
Break
3:00pm
The Challenge of Incorporating Authentic Assessment into a Hybrid Field Methods Course in Physical Geography
Alec Aitken, University of Saskatchewan
Cherie Westbrook, University of Saskatchewan

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We examine the challenge of supporting students' learning experience through authentic assessment in a second-year physical geography field course. The course, titled "Field Methods and Laboratory Analysis", provides students with an introduction to the principles and practice of field work and laboratory analytical techniques commonly employed in environmental earth sciences. This practical skills development is an essential element of the department's professionally accredited B.Sc. Hydrology programs. Students were required to perform tasks that demonstrate the application of their knowledge and skills to address problems faced by professionals in the field. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, we provided a compressed, hybrid delivery of the course in May 2021; 10 students chose to participate in-person while complying with COVID-19 protocols and 2 students chose to participate virtually. The hybrid delivery model employed in this course demanded extra work from the course instructors, requiring contact time of 6-hour days in the field plus 1-hour on-line tutorials in alternate evenings. Students participating in-person or remotely in the course acquired comparable skills in data analysis, visualization, and interpretation. Students participating in-person, however, mentioned how the hands-on experience helped them see connections between disparate concepts and also between knowledge and practice, experiences that simply could not be replicated for the students participating remotely. Students participating in-person displayed excitement and growing confidence in mastering new skills through hands-on activities, whereas students participating remotely were compelled to be more focused on completing the assigned problem-solving exercises.
3:15pm
American Meteorological Society Education Initiatives: Earth Science Literacy for All!
Wendy Abshire, American Meteorological Society
Elizabeth Mills, American Meteorological Society

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For 30+ years the AMS Education Program has offered educators nationwide professional development opportunities in weather, water, and climate science. As a K-13 initiative, the Program exists to foster Earth system science literacy with a focus on leveraging data as a learning tool. AMS courses also help build the foundation for a society more resilient to environmental hazards. Grants from NOAA, ONR, NASA, and NSF, corporate sponsorship, internal funding, and member donations support this mission and underpin the AMS strategic goals of working to: - build knowledge of the atmospheric and related sciences among varied audiences, and  -cultivate a talented, diverse, and enthusiastic workforce in the professions served by the AMS. Education Program activities in support of these goals are focused in two areas: 1) preparing K-12 teachers to be competent and confident to teach these subjects and include near real-time Earth science data in their curriculum, and 2) offering digital curriculum packages for undergraduate faculty to adopt and offer in introductory courses in weather, ocean, and climate science. In partnership with an accredited university, AMS Education offers teachers five, and soon six three-credit tuition-free graduate courses in weather, ocean, and climate science (http://ametsoc.org/amsedu/k12teachers). Successful completion of any two courses makes participants eligible to apply to become a Certified AMS Teacher (http://ametsoc.org/CAT). In addition to these professional development courses, the AMS supports the growing atmospheric science education research (ASER) community and offers webinars and teacher travel grants to engage in the AMS Annual Meeting Education Conference. For those seeking a less formal engagement, the new AMS Weather Band community supports weather enthusiasts of all ages (http://weatherband.org). This presentation will provide more information about all these programs, including their impact and effectiveness.
3:30pm
Pathways to Science Teaching: Engaging Preservice K-12 Science Teachers in NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
Heather Petcovic, Western Michigan University
Steven Bertman, Western Michigan University
Lauri Davis, Western Michigan University
Stephen Kacmzarek, Western Michigan University
Kevin Koch, Linden Grove Middle School
Valerie Long, Western Michigan University
Robert Ruhf, Western Michigan University
Paul Vellom, Western Michigan University

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In order to achieve the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), preservice teachers need opportunities to engage in all three dimensions of the NGSS. However, many teacher preparation programs lack opportunities to engage teacher candidates with NGSS science and engineering practices (SEPs). The 10-week Pathways to Science Teaching program connects "doing" science with teaching NGSS SEPs as preservice teachers design, conduct, and carry out a water quality investigation and then teach youth in science summer camps. Across three years of the Pathways program (2018, 2019, and 2021), a total of 16 undergraduate education majors and 7 science/engineering majors with a strong interest in teaching from highly diverse backgrounds participated. Each summer, participants met community stakeholders to learn about local water quality issues, designed and conducted water quality research in the local watershed, and taught water science to grade K-9 youth in summer camps. They communicated research results and gave teaching demonstrations in an open house event and at a professional conference. NGSS SEPs were emphasized throughout the program. Data from the Science Instructional Practices survey (SIPS; Hayes et al., 2016) and post-program interviews suggest that participants across all three years reported increased knowledge of choosing variables and designing investigations. Other gains were not uniform across cohorts but included increased knowledge of data collection, data analysis, making claims from evidence, argumentation, and creating and using models. Similarly, participants reported significant growth in their comfort in teaching youth to design and implement investigations, conduct data analysis, use physical and conceptual models, and argue from evidence. We propose that the Pathways program could be a productive model to improve the preparation of preservice teachers to teach NGSS scientific practices.
3:45pm
Investigating factors that affect teachers' participation in a Geo-STEM Learning Ecosystem
Cheryl Manning, Northern Illinois University
Nicole LaDue, Northern Illinois University

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Geo-STEM learning ecosystems (GLE) are communities of transformation engaging educators and learners in the geosciences to address local geoscience issues by bringing together current research and place-based education. While STEM learning ecosystems have been shown to nurture improved STEM identities in participants, we investigate the potential of GLEs to cultivate a geoscience identity amongst teachers, potentially impacting what is taught in a K-12 classroom.During the Spring of 2021, we surveyed over 200 self-identifying Earth science teachers in Illinois. We asked about teachers' sense of connection to the scientific community, how they connect learning to where their students live, and their understanding of Critical Zone science topics, including sustainability. From this surveyed population, 20 teachers participated in a two-day workshop focused on Critical Interface Network (CINet) science. Teachers worked to intentionally broaden their networks, develop place-based questions that could drive student learning, and develop NGSS-ESS storylines using CINet data about the near land surface, the active root zone, and river corridors. Over the course of the last year, these teachers have participated in monthly webinars to continue to learn about geoscience-related sustainability issues and work together to finalize their storylines. Here we provide an overview of pre-existing research and early results of our study through the lens of our growing GLE. We describe and compare the surveyed and workshop participant populations and their prior knowledge about critical zone science, attitudes about sustainability, existing networks, and how they use local phenomena in their teaching. We identify patterns that may help us understand how these factors contribute to teachers' practices and engagement in the geosciences.