Geosciences and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education
Western Michigan University
Dr. Heather Petcovic
Professor, Geoscience Education
Chair, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Western Michigan University
I hold a joint appointment between the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, where I currently serve as department chair, and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education at Western Michigan University. My research broadly focuses on field-based geoscience education and practice. I use qualitative and mixed methods of research to understand the role of field experience in the transition from undergraduate student to expert geoscientist. Specific research projects have studied the roles of knowledge, spatial thinking, and movement patterns in novice to expert geologic mapping, and how student conceptions of complex biogeochemical systems change in a field-based undergraduate course. More recently I have worked on the changing role of fieldwork in geoscience workforce preparation, and the role of visuospatial skills in fieldwork and sketching. I have been active in the preparation and professional development of K-12 teachers through teaching science content courses and consulting on several teacher development initiatives. I am a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Geoscience Education.
Website Content Contributions
The History of the Earth: Classroom Activity part of Teacher Preparation:Resource Collections:Activities
Students use events in an older adult's life to develop a timeline, which is then related to a scaled model of major events in the earth's history and the development of the geologic timescale.
Western Michigan University: Earth Science for Elementary Educators II part of Teacher Preparation:Resource Collections:Courses
This laboratory-based course is specifically designed for prospective elementary teachers and covers physical/historical geology content with reference to state elementary (K-8) benchmarks. The objectives of the ...
Conference Presentations (10)
Development of a Hydrogeology Concept Inventory part of Earth Educators Rendezvous:Previous Rendezvous:Rendezvous 2022:Program:Poster Sessions:Friday Poster Session
Concept inventories are fundamental in assessing and evaluating student knowledge and understanding across science disciplines. In the earth sciences, existing inventories measure student understanding of ...
Other Contributions (8)
Getting Your Education Work Published part of Rendezvous 2015:Program:Mini Workshops:Ed Publishing
Success with peer-reviewed journal publications are at the heart of tenure and promotion, as well as a critically important way to share your work with others. At this workshop, we will explore differences between ...
Central Section, Geoscience Education Research Division, Teacher Education Division
July 2022 Earth Educators' Rendezvous 2017 Attendees
July 2017 Earth Educators Rendezvous 2015
July 2015 Earth Educators' Rendezvous Interest Group
Teaching in the Field Interest Group
Earth Educators' Rendezvous 2016
JGE Associate Editors
Teach the Earth
NGSS Interest Group
Workshop Participant (19 workshops)
July 2020 GeoEd Research workshop
July 2016 Academic Supports - Rendezvous15