Teaching with Geochemical Data: A collaborative workshop to identify barriers and find solutions

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am E Building 217

Session Chairs

Karin A. Block, CUNY City College
Hannah Adrienne Sweets, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Students frequently struggle when working with data. Handling solid earth geochemical data can be especially daunting as it requires a basic knowledge of stoichiometry, magma composition, and physical processes. Geochemical data can be used to understand fundamental principles of mantle and crust composition, ocean depth, earthquakes, and volcanoes. The goal of this workshop is to collaboratively brainstorm and share techniques and activities to help students at any level (K-16 and beyond) learn how to access and handle research-grade data to obtain information about igneous processes. Participants will be introduced to the PetDB, the EarthChem portal and its member databases, and GeoMapApp, to interactively collaborate to produce teaching ideas and activities that help students become comfortable with data. The materials will be available via the Teach the Earth portal.

This workshop has funding to provide up to 10 eligible* participants a $450 stipend that can be used toward registration compensation for the two days of the workshop. Funding is available to provide qualified* participants with the stipend, unless they choose to waive it, on a first-come, first-serve basis (through registering for the workshop). All stipends will be disbursed after the Rendezvous, provided you participate in the entire workshop.

Note: there is a waitlist for stipends, as more than 10 people have registered.

Please contact the workshop leads if you have any questions about the stipends.

*Please note that as these stipends are NSF-funded, to be supported by this funding, a participant must be either a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or in the employ of a U.S. institution.


There is strong evidence that working with authentic data can increase student confidence, science identity, and improve workforce skills. At the same time, students frequently struggle when working with data and instructors need strategies to support them through to success. Although igneous geochemical and petrological data is complex, it can be used to help students understand geology, geography, geochemistry and geophysics. In this workshop, we will work collaboratively with participants to discuss the barriers educators encounter when teaching with data, and work together on approaches and solutions. We invite participants to share and brainstorm teaching techniques and activities to help students learn how to work with research-grade data to obtain information about igneous processes and geological features. The workshop will be both interactive and generative. Participants will learn about PetDB, the EarthChem data portal, and GeoMapApp so they can consider how to bring these data into their own courses. Our goal is to create and deliver a suite of completed activities to be shared via the EER site immediately during the workshop and more comprehensively through the SERC-hosted Teach the Earth portal in the latter half of 2023.

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for instructors of Earth Sciences at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels.


  • Gain familiarity with PetDB and EarthChem resources and how to access them.
  • Strengthen ability to access and visualize datasets in GeoMapApp.
  • Learn best practices in teaching with data, including equitable access to learning tools.
  • Create ideas, concepts, or activities in real time that can be used in the classroom by participants and members of the greater geoscience community.


Each day will include an introduction to the goals for the day, short (15 min.) presentations to introduce tools, but primarily participants will engage in interactive collaborative activities designed to make them familiar with key concepts, and share ideas on how to approach specific tasks. Participants will identify ideas that resonate with them and work in teams to create materials that will be submitted as teaching activities by the end of the workshop via the SERC Teach the Earth portal. Lastly, we will provide an opportunity for reflection and final thoughts.

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