Dr. Carla McAuliffe

PhD 2003, Learning & Instructional Technology; Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
GIS Specialist & Internal Evaluator for the DataTools Project,
Center for Science Teaching and Learning, TERC


Dr. Carla McAuliffe works as a curriculum developer, staff development specialist, project director, and internal evaluator at TERC. She is PI of the EET Workshops project and Co-PI of the TIDES and Eyes in the Sky projects. Carla has extensive teaching experience. She taught junior high life and physical science, high school Earth science and biology, and various instructional technology courses for college. She continues to provide preservice and inservice teacher training with visualization technologies, including GIS and image analysis.

Dr. McAuliffe's research focuses on the role of 3-D visualization in student learning. She currently facilitates online science education courses for teachers through Lesley University and Northern Arizona University. She has authored a variety of curriculum materials including interactive web lessons for Earth science, Discovering GIS, Discovering Image Processing, and a number of EET chapters.

The Earth is Round: Mapping GPS Data with a GIS

If you peel off the surface of the Earth to make a map, the resulting flattened piece will have gaps. Map makers use special projections to fill in those gaps. Many different projections have been developed and may preserve distance, area, and/or shape, but not all three. Projections are most accurate at the point at which they are tangent to Earth. When it comes to local data, planar projections offer the least amount of distortion. Data you may be interested in collecting from the Massachusetts Geographic Information System (MassGIS) is in Massachusetts State Plane Mainland Zone Projection, NAD 83. State Plane projections have an alternate origin. In the case of Massachusetts, that origin is 41 degrees latitude and -71.5 degrees longitude. Latitude and longitude readings for the MA state plane projection are actually read in meters north an south of that origin. So, when you collect local data with a GPS, you will need to decide to either convert the data you collect in decimal degrees to State Plane coordinates or to only work with decimal degree data.


The Earth is Round: Mapping GPS Data with a GIS (PowerPoint 5.6MB Jul9 08)

Sizing Up Cells

Too often, middle school students leave life science class with a textbook understanding of plant and animal cells. They fail to develop an appreciation of the diversity and complexity of living cells; that they vary widely in size, structure, and function. Thousands of freely available digital micrographs make it possible for students to explore and investigate actual cells, as opposed to stylized textbook drawings of typical plant and animal cells.


Sizing Up Cells (PowerPoint 715kB Sep15 06)

Sizing Up Cells Word document (Microsoft Word 141kB Oct9 07)

Investigation Template (Microsoft Word 37kB Oct5 07)

This file contains a new revised template for both planning and documenting a DataTools Investigation. Right-click on a PC or control-click on a MAC to download the template from the link above.