About this Project

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation's Directorate for STEM Education (EDU) -- Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) program. Awards: NSF-2234225, 2234247, 2336447.
Quantitatively skilled Earth science graduates are critical to meeting the needs of the workforce and the country. However, the application of math skills in a geoscience context is fraught with difficulties such as the uneven preparation of students, gatekeeper mathematics prerequisite courses, faculty who are not trained to teach quantitative skills, student math anxiety, and the cognitive difficulty of transferring mathematical skills to a specific science context. This project is developing the needed curricular resources and faculty professional development to significantly improve geoscience majors' math capabilities.

The project aims to improve the quantitative skills and confidence of Earth science undergraduate majors through a multi-pronged approach:

  1. Developing co-curricular modules to support majors-level quantitative skill development within Earth science courses and programs
  2. Organizing faculty professional development for developing and integrating these resources
  3. Conducting educational research on effective implementation strategies and student skill progression and attitudes

The Math Your Earth Science Majors Needs (TMYN-Majors) builds on the successful model developed by the original The Math You Need project, which produced math tutorials for students in introductory geoscience courses. TMYN-Majors is collaborative between EarthScope Consortium, Highline College, and Science Education Resource Center (SERC). EarthScope, which runs the NSF's Geodetic (GAGE) and Seismic (SAGE) facilities, is dedicated to transforming global geophysical research and education. Highline College is a large urban minority-serving community college with a track record of leadership in geoscience curricular support and faculty professional development. SERC is a grant-funded office at Carleton College, founded to improve education in the Earth sciences and beyond and collaborator on over 100 education projects across the STEM disciplines and allied fields.

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Guiding Principles

The  Guiding Principles that all modules must satisfy are:

  1. Focus on quantitative concepts used in majors-level Earth science courses
  2. Designed to support independent, self-paced, student learning
  3. Promote transfer of mathematical concepts to a variety of Earth science sub-discipline examples
  4. Provide multiple representations of mathematical concepts (e.g., algebraic, graphical, table, words)
  5. Support appropriate use of technology (e.g., Excel/Sheets, calculator), if applicable to the topic

Project Team

Principal Investigators

Dr. Beth Pratt-Sitaula (EarthScope Consortium) brings geoscience, educational, and logistical expertise to the project and serves as the overall project manager. She is highly experienced with undergraduate teaching, curriculum development and assessment, and educator professional development through project such as GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI) and EarthScope Alaska Native Geoscience Learning Experience (ANGLE). She is a founding member of the EarthScope DEIA Committee (Diversity Equity Inclusion and Accessibility), working to broaden inclusion at EarthScope and in the geoscience more widely. Pratt-Sitaula manages overall project and workshop logistics and serve as the primary contact for module authors, workshop participants, and project partners.

Dr. Eric Baer (Highline College) was a PI on the original TMYN projects (DUE-0633755 and DUE-0920800) and served as a faculty editor for the Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences website. He has also been a leader in faculty professional development in quantitative literacy and geoscience teaching through the SAGE 2YC project, the first national professional development project focused on geoscience faculty at 2-year colleges. Baer provides critical perspective on student needs related to transitioning from community colleges to universities. His involvement helps ensure the majors-level materials are appropriate for a wide range of non-traditional students and those from groups underrepresented in STEM. Baer is the primary project contact with the external evaluator.

Dr. Rory McFadden is a science education associate at the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College. As a member of the National Geoscience Faculty Survey Research Team he was lead and co-author on journal articles focused on the use of quantitative skills in geoscience majors courses. He was the founding chair of the NAGT webinar series committee. Prior to working at SERC, he was an assistant professor of environment, geography, and earth science at Gustavus Adolphus College, a 4-year undergraduate institution. He has taught courses in structural geology, tectonics, petrology, and Earth materials at the undergraduate level for the past 11 years. McFadden leads on student survey design.

Advisory Committee

  • Dr. Jennifer Wenner (University of Wisconsin Osh Kosh)
  • Dr. Stuart Boersma (Central Washington University)
  • Dr. Kyle Fredrick (Pennsylvania Western University - California)
  • Dr. Michael Brudzinski (Miami University)

External Evaluator

Dr. Michael Coe (Cedar Lake Research Group)

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