Theme Group 1: Earth Science for Secondary Teachers - Connection to Place

Group Members

Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Pacific Northwest Geology
Gary Solar, Geology of New York State
Amy Ellwein, Geobotany
Joel Johnson, Earth System Science for Teachers

Approach to Teaching the Course

What characterizes this type of course?
Field-based, guided-inquiry activities allow teachers to understand and integrate globally relevant interdisciplinary earth and environmental science topics through the lens of local or regional environments. This approach enables teachers to become scientists in the classroom and gives them the skills to incorporate local and regional geoscience into their curricula. Courses could range from full semester courses with multiple field trips to short duration field-intensive programs.

The major goals of these courses include having pre- or in-service teachers "doing" science: asking questions, making observations, integrating field data, and interpreting results, while focusing on local earth science content. Because many teachers remain in the region in which they receive their training, the resources and activities they experience in these courses enable them to develop direct knowledge and understanding of their local environment. The methods and concepts developed in such courses should be broad enough to be tranferrable to other regions for those participants who may teach elsewhere.

Why would you use this type of design?

  • Provide field-based experiences for teachers who may not otherwise have field opportunities
  • To promote inquiry-based learning
  • Local resources are familiar and accessable
  • Understanding of general geologic processes is transferrable to other regions

How would you design such a course?
See above course links for ideas, as well as the Teaching with Field Labs module in Starting Point or the Teaching in the Field area of the NAGT website.