Sponsored by the Geomorphology Specialty Group
Association of American Geographers 103rd Annual Meeting
San Francisco, California, April 17-21.
NSF GK-12 Programs in Geography and Geosciences
Illustrated Paper Session 3115
Thursday, 4/19/07, from 8:00 AM - 9:40 AM
Geography Education Specialty Group
Biogeography Specialty Group
Geomorphology Specialty Group
Jonathan M. Harbor - Purdue University
Sally P. Horn - University Of Tennessee
Sally P. Horn - University Of Tennessee
- 8:00 AM Introduction:
Jonathan M. Harbor - Purdue University
- 8:05 AM Author(s):
*Sally P. Horn - University Of Tennessee
Kenneth H. Orvis - University of Tennessee
Lynn J. Champion - University of Tennessee
Henri D. Grissino-Mayer - University of Tennessee
Carol P. Harden - University of Tennessee
Linda C. Kah - University of Tennessee
Claudia I. Mora - University of Tennessee
Colin D. Sumrall - University of Tennessee
Kristin T. Rearden - University of Tennessee
Abstract Title: Bringing University Research to Rural Middle Schools in East Tennessee: The University of Tennessee GK-12 Earth Project.
East Tennessee: The University of Tennessee GK-12 Earth Project Far too commonly, science is presented in elementary and secondary classrooms as a body of arcane knowledge handed down by inaccessible, distant authorities known as scientists, rather than as a process of investigation and discovery that is fun and exciting and that makes a scientist of anyone who participates. Funded by NSF, the University of Tennessee GK-12 Earth Project focuses on bringing the excitement of research and discovery to rural middle school science classes in east Tennessee. Ten graduate students from the Geography Department and the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department serve as GK-12 Fellows in seven schools spread across four school districts. Each Fellow is paired with a Teacher-Partner selected from highly committed participants in past summer workshops in the natural sciences. The project has a strong focus on the science of climate and environmental history, and most of the Fellows are engaged in graduate research on natural archives of environmental history, including tree rings, sediments, soils, fossils of various kinds, and stable isotopes. GK-12 Earth Fellows work closely with their Teacher-Partners to develop and carry out hands-on science activities that expose rural middle school students to the Fellows' own unfolding research, to other research at the University of Tennessee, and to broader initiatives such as the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.
Keywords: authentic research, climate history, education-graduate, education-K-12, environmental history, GK-12, global change, University outreach
- 8:07 AM Author(s):
*Robert S. Bednarz - Texas A&M University
Sarah W. Bednarz - Texas A&M University
Anthony Filippi - Texas A&M University
Joni Kincaid - Texas A&M University
Andrew G. Klein - Texas A&M University
Adriana Martinez - Texas A&M University
Tavia Prouhet - Texas A&M University
Michelle Simms - Texas A&M University
Nikki Williams - Texas A&M University
Abstract Title: Advancing Spatial Thinking in the Classroom.
Advancing Geospatial Skills in Science and Social Sciences (AGSSS), an NSF GK-12 program, emphasizes the development of spatial thinking skills in middleschool science and high school social science courses. During the 2005-2006 academic year 4 graduate and 2 undergraduate Fellows participated in theprogram. This academic year, the 5 graduate-student co-authors of this abstract serve as Fellows. These graduate students work with educators to develop and modify curriculum material that purposefully engages the students in developing and refining their spatial thinking skills. Fellows assist teachers and students during lesson implementation by providing support for geospatial technology and by introducing the perspective of research scientists into the classroom. The program also requires fellows to refine their own abilities to communicate complex ideas as they observe and assist students grappling with spatial-thinking concepts in the classroom. As part of a self-assessment initiative, Fellows keep weekly journals in which they record general classroom observations, challenges in helping students think spatially, and opportunities to introduce additional spatial-thinking into the classroom. The Fellows organize weekly meetings to facilitate coordination and cooperation for upcoming activities and to determine how best to assist teachers with their action research projects. Bi-weekly seminars, led by the faculty principle investigators, offer opportunities to discuss relevant research literature and to reflect on recent activities. These, and other, project activities ensure that Fellows will develop improved teaching skills and confidence as scientists.
Keywords: spatial thinking, geography education, GIS, geo-spatial technology
- 8:09 AM Author(s):
*Mandy Munro-Stasiuk - Kent State University
Donna Witter - Kent State University
Jospeh Ortiz - Kent State University
Scott Sheridan - Kent State University
Abstract Title: NEOGEO: Providing Effective Teacher Professional Development Opportunities.
Kent State's GK-12 Program, NEOGEO (NorthEast Ohio Geoscience Education Outreach), offers a three-workshop professional development series for teachers. Centering on terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric interactions and the use of geospatial technology, the workshops are: 1. SATELLITES (Students And Teachers Exploring Local Landscapes to Interpret The Earth from Space), a geospatial technology workshop offered in collaboration with OhioView; 2. Integrated Earth System Science, focusing on geological, chemical, physical and biological processes and how these interact in the Earth system; and 3. A four-day field experience to the Lake Erie Islands and surrounding localities that emphasizes the relationships between the local geology and the physical processes that have shaped northern Ohio. These workshops may be taken in succession or independently. All three have at least two NEOGEO faculty and six NEOGEO Fellows as the teaching team. Each team develops and presents inquiry-based activities designed and aligned with their own research expertise and the Ohio Academic Content Standards. We have found that a large teaching team is crucial to the success of the workshops as this provides a differential knowledge base and high student to instructor ratios. Based on the evaluations of the workshops, this approach significantly increases teacher satisfaction and retention of new material. We will present an overview of the organization, the activities, and the evaluation of the workshop outcomes.
Keywords: GK-12, earth science, education
- 8:11 AM Author(s):
*Vanessa Myers - Kent State University
*Wayne Kline - Kent State University
Abstract Title: GK-12: Bringing Weather Into the Classroom.
In the Ohio school curriculum, "weather" is referred to throughout the Earth and Space Science Standards, Benchmarks, and Indicators. It is often hard for K-12 students to understand the complexities involved with weather and therefore meet Ohio's standards. To help improve understanding of weather in Stark County, Ohio, Kent State University was awarded a GK-12 grant from the National Science foundation. This program allows graduate students with a meteorology and climatology background to work with K-12 students and teachers. They have worked both in and outside of the classroom developing inquiry-based activities to better explain weather concepts. While in the classroom, the graduate students have been able to act as "experts" in their field answering crucial questions, providing examples of what scientists do, and creating further student interest in weather. Through their research, the graduate students have been able to bring current data into the classroom, giving the K-12 students an insight into how to use and interpret current data.
Keywords: weather, education, GK-12
- 8:13 AM Author(s):
*Eric Lutz - Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University
Teresa Cohn - Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University
Lisa J. Graumlich - Big Sky Institute, Montana State University
Abstract Title: Science and Society Fellows: A GK-12 Program at Montana State University.
Montana State University NSF GK-12 Fellows are engaged with research addressing the science underlying the complex trade-offs in managing the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Yellowstone is the largest pristine ecosystem in the continental USA. As such, Yellowstone is a natural laboratory for the study of predator-prey interactions, invasive species, watershed processes and, the impacts of exurban development on ecosystem processes. In the lives of the rural communities surrounding Yellowstone, environmental and natural resource issues occupy center stage. Through the NSF-funded GK-12 Program, fellows work with rural teachers and students to capitalize on students' interest in nature to motivate scientific learning. In our poster, we describe two exemplary projects. Teresa Cohn collaborates with Mark Roy, Gene Meier and Ft. Washakie School on the Wind River Indian Reservation (WY) to better understand the complex cultural and ecological role of the Wind River watershed in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Eric Lutz collaborates with Jeremy Harder, Dave Neal, and Dr. Anne Marie Mistretta of Ophir School (Big Sky, MT) and with local ski areas to implement service learning projects that foster 1) an appreciation for the uniqueness of Big Sky's mountain environment and 2) a strong understanding of the complex interactions between the natural landscape and human activities. Through field and classroom activities the 4th grade is developing inquiry-based investigations of various themes in mountain geography and the 5th and 6th grades are developing and implementing a local avalanche awareness program.
Keywords: GK-12, education-graduate, place-based learning, inquery-based learning, global change
- 8:15 AM Author(s):
*Carol P. Harden - University of Tennessee
Angela Danovi - University of Tennessee
Saskia van de Gevel-Edidin - University of Tennessee
Ann Tillett - Carpenters Middle School
Victoria Headrick - Carpenters Middle School
Abstract Title: NSF GK-12 Research Collaboration Between University of Tennessee and Carpenters Middle School in Blount County, Tennessee.
Two University of Tennessee graduate NSF GK-12 fellows have collaborated with two Carpenters Middle School teachers during the 2005-2006 year, with middle school students participating in ongoing research projects led by the graduate fellows and science teachers. This poster highlights four research projects developed and conducted with middle school students. First, Carpenters Middle School students are inventorying herbaceous biodiversity within the campus wetland and natural area, collecting, identifying, and preserving specimens for inclusion within a school herbarium. This project has introduced the students to plant identification and herbarium collection skills and has resulted in a herbarium at the school. Second, students have been analyzing the radial growth of trees to document forest stand age and recruitment patterns, and to quantify the disturbance regime of Ijams Nature Reserve. Students are also comparing radial growth changes with temperature and precipitation records for the area over the past century. Third, we have begun an erosion study at several locations on the school property. Students use erosion pins to observe and quantify erosion-caused changes in the landscape, and they develop hypotheses about differences in erosion rates between the testing locations. Fourth, students are conducting water quality research using field test kits on samples collected from a local stream. Students test the water samples and maintain data in an ongoing spreadsheet. The projects have introduced students to basic lab equipment and practices and to procedures for acquiring and maintaining data sets for future analysis.
Keywords: education-graduate, education-K-12, environmental history
- 8:17 AM Author(s):
Abstract Title: RAISE-ing the Standard of Education in Oklahoma.
This presentation tracks the progress of R.A.I.S.E., a three-year NSF GK-12 grant program. R.A.I.S.E. (Rural Alliance for Improving Science Education) pairs ten Oklahoma State University graduate students with teachers from three surrounding rural districts. Scientists, as the graduate students are called, work closely with their assigned teacher to design lessons that incorporate spatial technology into their respective subject matter. An overview of the inception of RAISE will present the potential opportunities that higher level education institutions can have in relating to public education. Classroom activities and lesson plans will demonstrate the effort of graduate students as they introduce students to GIS and GPS technology. Actual student work will illustrate the impact that R.A.I.S.E. has had for improving education in three rural Oklahoma schools. Keywords: NSF GK-12, RAISE, GIS, Public Education, Oklahoma State Univ.
- 8:19 AM Author(s):
*Christopher A. Underwood - The University of Tennessee
Saskia L. van de Gevel - The University of Tennessee
Gregory G. Metcalf - Heritage Middle School
Victoria Headrick - Carpenters Middle School
Sally P. Horn - The University of Tennessee
Abstract Title: Using Mastodon Matrix to Teach Earth Science to Middle School Students.
The Mastodon Matrix Project, coordinated by the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) in collaboration with Cornell University, allows interested parties to contribute to an actual scientific study. Mastodons are extinct relatives of modern elephants that were numerous and widespread in North America until the end of the last glacial period. In July 2006, PRI loaned us 51 five-gallon buckets of sediment recovered during mastodon excavations at two sites in New York. University of Tennessee GK-12 Fellows are taking samples of this mastodon matrix into rural middle schools to engage students in hands-on, authentic paleontological research about our changing Earth. Students are each given 20 to 30 cc of matrix and are asked to be careful and observant researchers as they sort their findings into these categories suggested by PRI: 1) plant macrofossils, 2) rocks, 3) shells, and 4) everything else. Six classes at Carpenters Middle School found 861 items in ~3,000 cc of matrix. Included were 743 plant macrofossils (twigs, fragments of tree bark, seeds and conifer needles), 116 rocks, and 2 shells. These results were used in a lesson on graphing that was exciting to the students because it involved original data that they had collected. We are using the matrix at other schools and planning additional investigations for the students, including the examination of preserved pollen. The data and actual materials the students find will be returned to PRI where they will be examined and cataloged by PRI and Cornell paleontologists.
Keywords: GK-12, authentic research, mastodon matrix, earth science, paleontology, environmental history, university outreach
- 8:21 AM Author(s):
*Yvette Vlack - Kent State University
Abstract Title: Reasons For The Seasons: Creating Hands-On Inquiry-Based Activities From Cookbook Labs.
Cookbook laboratory investigations have effectively removed the fundamental element of ingenious discovery from the classrooms. When used in a classroom setting, cookbook laboratories require students to only follow a set of perfunctory directions, hindering the development of concepts and higher order thinking skills beyond the mechanistic understanding. However, through the utilization of adaptive principles such as allowing students to design laboratory experiments, formulate hypotheses, and use prior knowledge to make predictions, lessons can be transformed from cookbook to inquiry. The mini-unit 'Reasons for the Seasons' was developed from multiple cookbook activities and modified to use inquiry techniques. The activities incorporated into this mini-unit investigate each of the potential explanations for seasons through laboratory activities in which quantitative data is obtained by students. From this data, students draw their own conclusions concerning which potential cause has the greatest impact on the Earth's seasons. Specific exercises call for students to investigate the angle of incoming solar radiation and then determine the change in solar radiation for perihelion and aphelion using flashlights, soccer balls, rulers, and overhead transparencies. Kinesthetic activities, combined with discussions, peer consultation, and critical analyses of results, provides an array of educational tools to reach and engage diverse learners. These techniques require that students incorporate higher order thinking skills such as inference, extrapolation, and implications into their schema, allowing for greater understanding and retention.
Keywords: seasons, seasonality, education, inquiry, GK-12
- 8:23 AM Author(s):
*Bethany I Hart - Kent State University
Carol J Hochstetler - Dalton Local Schools
Abstract Title: Engage, Interact, And Inspire: A Two-Week Journey Into The Hydrologic Cycle Through Inquiry.
Water is a precious commodity, and there is a limited amount of groundwater and surface water available for human consumption. Therefore, it is essential for students to understand the hydrologic cycle and conservation of water at an early age. However, traditional methods of graphical illustration may not be adequate to convey the message of the hydrologic cycle to students. This curriculum unit engages students through authentic activities such as discussions, analyses of real data, laboratory activities, model development, and debates of current environmental issues. Such activities accommodate diverse learning styles and encourage student interaction with materials and peer collaboration. Content includes precipitation, evaporation, condensation, sublimation, water transport and storage, and water conservation; learning occurs through students' critical evaluation of activities and results. Through this process, students become more responsive to the subject and begin to ask more critical questions concerning the world around them. Through the implementation of inquiry-based techniques, students become more engaged in learning by obtaining quantitative and qualitative data, than through rote memorization of textbook facts. When previously presented in a seventh grade classroom, the lessons proved successful by providing tactile, visual, and graphic representations that increased student familiarity with subject matter and enhanced environmental awareness. Such education is of particular interest because it aids in the development of integral cognitive skills and empowers students to become environmentally conscious members of society.
Keywords: water cycle, hydrologic cycle, education, inquiry, GK-12
- 8:25 AM Author(s):
*Bethaney Bosley - Kent State University
*Debra Mokaren - Kent State University
Abstract Title: Implementing inquiry-based activities in Louisville Middle School, Ohio.
The Kent State NSF-funded GK-12 project entitled "North East Ohio Geoscience Education Outreach (NEOGEO)" has created partnerships with middle and high schools throughout Stark County, Ohio. The role of NEOGEO Graduate Fellows is to help improve the quality of Earth Science education by incorporating the use of real world data, technology, and inquiry based learning into the curriculum through hands on activities, and to help provide professional development for teachers. This poster highlights inquiry based activities written and implemented by NEOGEO fellows in seventh grade classrooms at Louisville Middle School in Louisville, Ohio. The activities written for Louisville Middle School focus on expanding content knowledge, identifying multidisciplinary connections, and incorporating technology using hands on student driven projects. All activities were written to adhere to seventh grade Ohio Science Standards and to also support the current seventh grade curriculum of Weather and Ecology.
Keywords: K-12, geography education, inquiry
- 8:27 AM Author(s):
*BJ Arnold - Kent State University
Abstract Title: Using a GeoScape garden to teach an inquiry-based 8th grade earth science unit.
As part of the NSF-funded GK-12 project, the GeoScape garden was developed in conjunction with Alliance Middle School, Stark Co., Ohio. It has been designed and installed as part of Kent State University's NEOGEO (Northeast Ohio Geoscience Educational Outreach) program. This collaborative project involves the creation of six outdoor stations at the school within an approximately 10-m2 area and has brought together GK-12 fellows as well as Alliance Middle School students, teachers and administrators. The stations are framed, concrete slabs painted to depict normal, reverse and thrust faults, an anticline and syncline fold, as well as a geologic cross section. The GeoScape design is modular and scalable, which allows it to be replicated in parts, or as a whole in other schools/educational settings. Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary boulders donated by a local gravel quarry are also placed throughout the GeoScape garden. The GeoScape project is used in conjunction with a twoweek inquiry-based curriculum aligned with the state of Ohio Academic Content Standards and is designed to help students in the comprehension and application of a variety of earth science concepts. These concepts include geologic time and relative dating techniques such as the principles of superposition, original horizontality, crosscutting relationships, inclusion and faunal succession. This unit also helps students to understand why relative dating and the sedimentary rock record are essential to the study of historical geology and also to develop such skills as observation, oral explanation, inference, sequencing, and interpretation.
Keywords: Inquiry, GeoScape, earth science, teaching
- 8:29 AM Author(s):
*Melissa Danielle George middle school science teacher - Tecumseh Middle School/Purdue University
Enrico Nino Manes, GK-12 Graduate Fellow - Purdue University
Deborah Bennett, Associate Professor, Educational Psychology - Purdue University
Abstract Title: Evolution of Earthquake Theories in a Classroom Community.
As part of a GK-12 project (National Science Foundation, 2006), an interdisciplinary team examined the evolution of student ideas about the cause of earthquakes during a unit on plate tectonics. The design and enactment of this teaching and learning unit were shaped by the situated learning model (Harrington & Oliver, 2000) which views science classrooms as scientific communities where "enculturation and personal knowledge construction are intertwined" (Hogan, Nastasi, & Pressley, 2000). The study focused on the evolution of the ideas of 12 students as they engage in discourse with teachers, peers, and members of the GK- 12 team. Prior to instruction students engaged in three pre-assessment tasks: 1) open-ended questions regarding knowledge of the cause of earthquakes, 2) concept maps constructed during interviews, and 3) a survey and interview analysis of adults' ideas about earthquake phenomena. Following the initial assessment, students read earthquake myths from several cultures and formulated their own earthquake myth (Thier & Knott, 1998). Students also worked in groups of four and engaged in inquiry-based activities and discussions focusing on the cause and effects of earthquakes. As a culminating project, the small groups created new myths reflecting their reconstructed understandings regarding earthquakes. Final interviews provided a means for student to reflect and reconcile their initial and final understandings. Changes in student concept development as a result of instruction and dynamic assessment activities will be discussed.
Keywords: GK-12, earthquake, plate tectonics, education, science classroom
- 8:31 AM Author(s):
*Jonathan M. Harbor - Purdue University and UCDHSC
Melissa Dark - Purdue University
Deborah Bennett - Purdue University
Carrie Davis Todd - Purdue University
Abstract Title: Interdisciplinary GK-12 teams working with middle school science and math in rural Indiana.
The Indiana Interdisciplinary GK-12 combines the interdisciplinary research focus of Purdue University with the rural and small town learning context of three Indiana school corporations. The project aims to improve middle school science education while dramatically enhancing STEM graduate students' experience and understanding of learning and teaching. Using an interdisciplinary team approach that is central to much current scientific research, and in direct response to needs expressed by a teacher focus group, this project emphasizes authentic problem solving in interdisciplinary themes as a way to engage student interest and develop effective teaching of STEM in middle schools. Our approach is to involve graduate fellows in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, working collaboratively in teams with middle school science and math teachers. Fellows and teachers work together in a summer professional development workshop and then modify/create, test, and implement curricular theme units using a constructivist, inquiry-based approach focused on authentic interdisciplinary problem-solving. Assessment data, examples of activities and excerpts from journal entries by fellows illustrate both the impact of the fellows on classrooms and students, and the ways in which fellows have been challenged by the realities of middle school environments.
Keywords: geographic education, education research, K-12
- 8:33 AM Discussant:
Anne Chin - National Science Foundation
- 8:38 AM Discussant:
Thomas J. Baerwald - National Science Foundation
Session Description: Graduate students, faculty, and teachers will present on NSF-funded projects that pair graduate fellows with K-12 teachers to enhance instruction in geography and the geosciences. Several current GK-12 projects involve graduate students and faculty with research interests in biogeography and geomorphology who are sharing and conducting research in these areas with K-12 students and teachers. Other projects have strong emphases on remote sensing, GIS, and spatial learning. This session will include illustrated papers from a diversity of current and past GK-12 projects. Participants will focus on project activities as well as learning outcomes research associated with these activities. The session is intended to showcase what GK-12 projects are doing, and what we are learning from these projects, as well as to help others interested in applying for NSF GK-12 funding to understand how geographers and geoscientists have developed and run these programs.