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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Scott Linneman: Using Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students in Methods in Secondary Education for Science Teachers at Western Washington University

About this Course

An intermediate to advanced course for pre-service teachers.

12
students

Three 120-minute lecture
sessions, weekly

Public comprehensive university

Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 175kB Jun30 14)

A Success Story in Building Student Engagement

The Next Generation Science Standard makes clear the critical importance of Earth and space science. So how can we begin to incorporate geoscience into a legacy high school curriculum dominated by biology, chemistry, and physics? This module was created to help instructors of multidisciplinary secondary science teaching methods courses introduce geoscience to their students, most of whom are biology, chemistry, or physics majors. I had only 1 week of a 10-week secondary science methods course, so I adapted the module by using Units 1 and 3. The module fit well into the seminar/studio style of the class. The cycle of reading, discussion, writing, and team-based activities in the module matched the course format well. The students were intellectually engaged in the nature of science content of Unit 1. The discussion of their revised conception of the scientific method extended beyond their reading about geoscience; the biology majors recognized the importance (and non-experimental nature) of modeling complex systems in life science. The students were excited to learn about all the peer-reviewed curricular resources presented in Unit 3. Consistent with the goals of the course, they developed lesson plans that incorporated geoscientific thinking.

The written products indicated that the students developed more sophisticated understanding of what geoscientists do, how geoscience can differ from a simple model of experimental science, and how it is relevant to many questions of human sustainability.

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate Materials

I had only 1 week of a 10-week secondary science teaching methods course, so I adapted the Geoscientific Thinking module by using Units 1 (Nature of Geoscience) and Unit 3 (Geoscience Curricular Resources). Though my students missed working with the geoscience data in Unit 2, they were introduced to geoscientific thinking and better understood how it fits into a 21st century high school curriculum.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course

I presented the introduction and assigned the first part of Unit 1 as homework in the last 30 minutes of a Friday class. The material from Units 1 and 3 was covered over a course of three 2-hour classes, and the summative assignment homework was due the week after it was assigned. The module fit well into the seminar/studio style of the class. The cycle of reading, discussion, writing, and team-based activities in the module matched the course format well. The students were intellectually engaged in the nature of science content of Unit 1. The discussion of their revised conception of the scientific method extended beyond their reading about geoscience; the biology majors recognized the importance (and non-experimental nature) of modeling complex systems in life science. The students were excited to learn about all the peer-reviewed curricular resources presented in Unit 3. Consistent with the goals of the course, they developed lesson plans that incorporated geoscience thinking.


Assessments

The students wrote essays (Unit 1), an annotated bibliography of curricular resources (Unit 3), and a lesson plan using one of their new-found geoscience curricular resources (Unit 3). The quality of the lesson plans varied greatly according to student experience. We have revised the lesson plan assignment to emphasize the societal impact of the geoscience included.

Outcomes

Our vision was to increase the awareness of geoscience as a legitimate and important science among non-geoscience majors intending to be high school science teachers. The nature of science Unit 1 proved to be a significant learning experience, even for the Earth science majors. The curriculum-focused Unit 3 allowed these future teachers to envision (and practice!) the inclusion of geoscience in their future classes. Of course, they do not know what those courses will be—if their school districts embrace the NGSS, they will better understand the role of geoscience for promoting student learning about the scientific practices and crosscutting concepts (complex systems, modeling).

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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »