Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Resources shared in the webinar: Dig Deeper into Earth Science with Making North America

This blog post is simply a compilation of links to resources discussed in the December 1, 2015 NOVA Education webinar Dig Deeper into Earth Science with Making North America. The brevity of the webinar assures that not all of the listed links will be visited. A recording of the webinar will be available on the site (the preceding link) shortly after the webinar.

Webinar Description:

Tue, Dec 1, 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Hangouts On Air - Broadcast for free

Join us for a discussion about new classroom resources from NOVA’s Making North America — a 3-part series that tells the 3-billion year story of our continent’s geological formation and evolution.  Special guests Rob Ross and Don Duggan-Haas of the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) will discuss strategies on how to connect the content of Making North America to local and regional Earth science.

On December 1st at 7PM EST / 4PM PST, we’ll look at a range of free resources, including PRI’s Teacher-Friendly Guides to the Earth Science of the United States, which provide a blueprint for engaging grades 6-12 students in actual Earth science fieldwork within their geographic region. 

The Links:


Don Duggan-Haas is the Director of Teacher Programs at PRI and its Museum of the Earth & Cayuga Nature Center in Ithaca, NY. Don’s work in teacher education, teacher professional development and curriculum materials development marries deep understandings of how people learn with deep understandings of the Earth system. He is a nationally regarded expert in place-based and technology-rich Earth and environmental science education, especially as related to the use of Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs). VFEs are multi-media representations of actual field sites ideally created by teachers and students working together. He also has expertise in climate and energy education and is co-author of the book, The Science Beneath the Surface: A Very Short Guide to the Marcellus Shale. He served on the Earth & Space Science Design Team for the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and currently serves as the Second Vice President of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Don has taught at Colgate, Cornell, and Michigan State Universities, Kalamazoo College, and Tapestry and Norwich (New York) High Schools.

Rob Ross is Associate Director for Outreach at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) in Ithaca, NY. He was trained as a paleontologist (PhD from Harvard in 1990) and paleoceanographer (post-doc at the University of Kiel in Germany), and for four years was on the faculty at Shizuoka University in Japan. He moved to Ithaca to work at PRI in 1997 and facilitated the expansion of PRI programming for local school and community groups, helped found teacher professional development programs focused on place-based learning and authentic science experiences, and participated in various national initiatives to improve Earth science education nationally. Rob was part of the team that opened PRI's Museum of the Earth in 2003 and worked on merger with the Cayuga Nature Center that was finalized in 2013. He is founder of the Teacher-Friendly Guide series and co-author and co-editor of a number of books and papers in paleontology and Earth science education. He also teaches courses at Ithaca College and Cornell University.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tools for Making Virtual Fieldwork: Resources from the ReaL Earth Inquiry Project

As the Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry Project has progressed, the tools and strategies for making and using Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs) have evolved. If you scroll back through this blog, you'll see periodic updates on how how to use and make VFEs. The project is now in its final months, but our VFE work will continue beyond the end of this particular project's funding.

VFEs are now being used in educational outreach for the Critical Zone Observatory Network and this work will add to the set of VFEs in our database, as well as to the set of tools and strategies for making and using VFEs.

This blog entry points to resources that have come online in the last few months, most importantly including the new regional Teacher Friendly Guides to Earth Science for Midwestern and Western US. Other regions will follow shortly, and older Northeastern and Southeastern Guides will be updated. The new guides all include or will include a chapter on actual and virtual fieldwork, and after this blog, is the next thing you should read as you begin your work with VFEs.

Most of the rest of the text of this post is a conference abstract from the October 2014 Geological Society of America meeting from a talk that shares the same title as this post. The abstract is followed by the Prezi used in that presentation and then by a set of related links. Most of these links are also embedded within the Prezi. Note that if you are viewing the Prezi in full-screen mode, the links will open in a new window that won't be visible until you exit full-screen viewing.


Why does a place look the way it does? How can we teach the reading of landscapes? Through two NSF-funded programs, “The Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry Project” and “Improving Earth science education through teacher development in regional geology,” the Paleontological Research Institution has developed a rich set of resources and approaches to help educators teach about local geoscience in technology-rich, scientifically accurate and inquiry-based ways. The three-pronged approach: (1) develops a series of seven regional Teacher-Friendly Guides to Geoscience that collectively cover the entire United States; (2) develops, with our educator-partners, Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs) that are multi-media representations of actual field sites; and; (3) provides professional development (PD) programming that intertwines (1) and (2).

VFEs can serve in the place of actual fieldwork, but it is hoped that they serve more to catalyze and extend fieldwork than replace it. As framed in PRI’s work, VFE development requires actual fieldwork, and the VFE is a way to document that work and share it with others.

Resources include: (1) a set of regional Teacher-Friendly Guides; (2) a carefully crafted set of Bigger Ideas and Overarching Questions in Earth System Science, mapped onto idea sets like those in NGSS and the Climate Literacy Principles; (3) sets of questions that can be asked and productively investigated at any site, one set focused primarily upon the geosciences and a second focused upon ecology; (4) templates for Prezi and PowerPoint that help educators connect the question sets with local imagery and other data; (5) resources for connecting the field and the classroom via videolink in real time, and for connecting classrooms to one another, to facilitate students teaching one another about their local environments; (6) a still growing set of VFEs; and (7) tutorials for using Google Earth, Prezi, and other technologies in the service of making VFEs. Topics include using Google Earth to replicate the classic science education film Powers of Ten, but focused upon a local landmark rather than a Chicago park; how to use the VFE templates; how to mash up USGS digital geologic state maps with Google Earth’s profile tool, to show the interplay between bedrock geology and topography; and more. 

Session Prezi:

Selected Links:

    • https://evernote.com/skitch/ - Skitch is an app that allows you to mark up photos and maps in the field using your tablet or smartphone. 
    • http://gigapan.com - Gigapan is a robotic tripod head and software package for making gigapixel resolution panoramas.