NAGT > Professional Development > AGU Sessions and Activities > 2009 AGU

NAGT Activities at AGU Fall 2009 Meeting

NAGT is pleased to outline a variety of geoscience education sessions planned for the Fall 2009 AGU Meeting held in San Francisco, CA, from 14-18 December, 2009. Please submit an abstract and plan to attend the following sessions highlighting key issues of importance to geoscience educators at all levels.

Topical Sessions


ED01: Education and Human Resources: General Contributions
Education and Human Resources; Cryosphere; Global Environmental Change
Susan Buhr, CIRES, USA

This session provides the opportunity for contributions that fall within the broad spectrum of Education and Human Resources.


ED02:Bringing Back the Moon: Using Lunar Education Resources to Enhance K-12 STEM Education
Education and Human Resources
Brooke C. Hsu, Doris Daou

In its 2007 National Research Council report "The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon", the Space Studies Board unanimously reached a consensus that the Moon offers profound scientific value. Indeed, the global scientific community has experienced a renewed focus on lunar exploration, as evidenced by a recent series of lunar science programs (such as NASA's Lunar Science Institute and the International Lunar Network) and spacecrafts (SELENE - Japan; Chandrayaan - India; CHANG-E - China; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite - USA) to address the NRC directives. This renaissance in lunar exploration and science has provided a unique opportunity to engage students in STEM education. In the goal of capitalizing on this renewed interest, lunar scientists and education professionals have established a wide variety of programs, resources, and projects for K-12 education. This session will showcase those lunar educational projects and programs, as well as opportunities for educators to engage their students in participatory exploration of the Moon.


ED03:IPY:Encouraging Success and Diversity Through Minority Participation in Science
Education and Human Resources
Justin R. Brown, Lindsay Birt, Ambrose Jearld, Jr., James Tindall

Minorities are generally under-recognized for their accomplishments in science and industry; however, they have made significant contributions in earth and space sciences, as well as other fields. Minorities help provide, sustain, and increase the diversity of a strong national leadership through improving and expanding opportunities for many in the scientific work force and in academia through mentoring and support during pre/post-college education. This session seeks research and topics on tools and methods that can assist a diverse community of students and scholars within their scientific disciplines, as well as raise awareness among the scientific community about what minorities have and will continue to contribute to science and industry. Research on why diversity in science matters, how to attract young minorities and others to the sciences, funding for minority science programs, outcomes of future-faculty programs to promote diversity in academia, and related topics are also desired.


ED04: Connecting Science and Literacy in the Classroom: Using Space and Earth Science to Support Language Arts
Education and Human Resources
Emily CoBabe-Ammann, Alice S. Wessen

The connections between science and literacy in the classroom have received increasing attention over the last two decades, as more and more evidence demonstrates that science topics provide an opportunity to engage students on the path to literacy improvement. Combining science and literacy improves both reading and science scores, and increases students' interest in science as students are given the opportunity to creatively explore their world and Universe. At a time when over 40% of students beyond 5th grade are reading two or more levels below grade expectation, finding ways to excite and engage them in the reading process is the key to literacy improvement. Literacy programs incorporating unique space science content can help prepare children for standardized language arts tests. It also engages our nation's youngest learners and their teachers with the science, math, and technology of exploration in a language arts format. This session focuses on programs and products that bring the excitement of earth and space science into the literacy classroom, with a focus on research-based approaches to combining science and language arts.


ED05: Educating about the Anthropocene
Education and Human Resources; Global Environmental Change
Patrick Hamilton, Karen Campbell

Human activities have set in motion profound global environmental change. The term Anthropocene has been coined to describe this new epoch in Earth's history. While the Earth science community has long been documenting the extent of human impacts on the planet, the public in general and policy-makers in particular often approach global environmental change with little depth of understanding. This session will focus on how scientists and informal science educators can work together to accelerate civic understanding of the challenges and opportunities ahead if people are to survive and thrive on a human-dominated planet.


ED06: BRIGHT STaRS: Bright Students Training as Research Scientists
Education and Human Resources
Ines Cifuentes, Jennifer Saltzman

Several science programs in the San Francisco Bay Area are aimed at encouraging talented high school-aged students to discover the Earth and Space Sciences through after school and summer programs that provide hands-on research opportunities in these fields. This invitation-only session will highlight recent student research activities associated with such programs including the East Bay Academy for Young Scientists at U.C. Berkeley-Lawrence Hall of Science, the SF-ROCKS Program, a partnership between San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Unified School District, and the Earth Sciences High School Intern Program at Stanford University. High school students involved in summer research programs at other locations are encouraged to contact the conveners and submit their research projects.


ED07: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Education
Education and Human Resources, Public Affairs
Lisa Gardiner, Sandra Henderson, Dennis Ward

This session will highlight recently developed materials to educate the public and students about climate change adaptation and mitigation. Scientifically credible educational resources are very important as information about the effects of global warming is becoming more widespread and the public and students are asking the question, "What can we do about it?" The public is inundated with advice, sometimes conflicting, about what can be done, ranging in scale from replacing a light bulb to changing energy infrastructure. Geoscience educators have a unique perspective on adaptation and mitigation to share with the general public and students.

This session will explore novel projects, curricula, and education materials related to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies utilized in formal or informal learning environments. We encourage submissions that highlight high quality educational materials and strategies that foster a positive attitude about the future.


ED08: Education and Communication for Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness
Education and Human Resources, Public Affairs
Susan Buhr, Tamara Ledley, Cynthia Howell, Susan Van Gundy

Research indicates that science teachers as well as the general public have misconceptions and significant gaps in their understanding of the basics of the climate system, which may lead to an incorrect understanding of climate change. Discussion of climate change leads naturally into solutions, including the roles of energy systems. What are the current gaps in science education standards and needs for professional development programs? How important is climate literacy and energy awareness for a 21st Century workforce? How may the basics of climate science be best fostered for a wide variety of learners? How may energy awareness be incorporated into school curriculum? Submissions are invited that provide models and best practices for climate science and climate change education and for developing energy awareness related to climate science.


ED09: Public Participation in Research: Engaging Citizen Scientists in Geoscience Research
Education and Human Resources, public Affairs
Sandra Henderson, Annette L. Schloss

This session will focus on best practices and lessons learned from successful education and outreach programs and public engagement events that promote greater understanding of geoscience content and protocols through participation.

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of programs and projects designed to connect researchers with 'citizen scientists.' The Internet has made participation in citizen science projects accessible to a wide audience of interested lay persons. As a result, tens of thousands of citizen scientists regularly contribute to a variety of research projects in the geosciences.

Submissions that address citizen science planning, marketing, recruiting, retention, web site design, data entry, data quality control, coordination and management, communication between participants and researchers, project evaluation, and final reporting back to participants are encouraged. Abstracts are encouraged that represent the diversity of participants found in citizen science projects including K-12 school groups, informal science centers, individuals, communities, universities, and laboratories.



ED10: Using Digital Information Resources and Findings from Major Research Initiatives to Transform Undergraduate Instruction
Education and Human Resources; Tectonophysics
Jeffrey G. Ryan, Don Reed, Andrew Goodwillie, Cathy Manduca

The development of geo-information databases with global reach and spanning multiple disciplines, and digital visualization/interpretive tools to manipulate these large datasets has dramatically facilitated the creative repurposing of results from major geoscience research programs for use in geoscience courses and curricula at the college level, and to facilitate undergraduate research. This session seeks to highlight exemplary classroom applications of the fruits of major research efforts (ex.: the NSF-MARGINS Program, IODP, EarthScope, Ridge 2000, GEON, AMS/NOAA initiatives, NASA exploration programs, etc.) toward identifying the best educational practices for the use of these new tools.



ED11: Missing Links! Scientists Communication on Critical Global Environmental Change Issues
Education and Human Resources; Atmospheric Sciences; Cryosphere; Global Environmental Change; Hydrology; Natural Hazards; Public Affairs
James Michael Byrne, Daniel Fagre

This session will address a need for clear, concise communication from science and scientists that defines and describes critical global and regional environmental issues; that provides the scientific basis for comprehensive and comprehensible actions by individuals, educators and communities; and identifies research needs to further address solutions to these issues. This session is a continuation of education communication sessions in 2007 and 2008. This session is intended as a science communication to students. Contributing authors will be asked to provide clear and specific recommendations regarding ways and means to convey authentic science to help insure global and/or regional resource security and safe and adequate lifestyle preservation; and to identify scientifically-based uncertainties and provide advice and directions on research needs and/or other ways and means to address these uncertainties. An intended session outcome will be an edited textbook published through a major international publisher, accompanied by a series of video interviews with contributing authors.



ED12: Using Web 2.0 Technologies to Facilitate Science Communications
Education and Human Resources
Charna E. Meth, Cindy Martinez

The World Wide Web has changed the way society shares and receives information. New technologies and applications are lifting us from static web pages to interactive and dynamic online experiences. Gone are the days when web pages only disseminated information; today online tools allow users to interact with each other, building cohesive communities and new opportunities for collaboration. Professional science organizations, large research projects, and science education centers can now use blogs, social networking sites, wikis, webinars, and other Web 2.0 applications to publicize news and programmatic information, interact with their audiences, create awareness of concepts, develop new ideas, and attract new stakeholders and participants to their programs. This session will discuss how scientists and organizations are leveraging online tools (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, web forums) to revolutionize the way is science is communicated, both within the science community and with other groups.



ED13: Innovative Practices in K-12 Pre- and In-Service Geoscience Teacher Professional Development
Education and Human Resources; Atmospheric Sciences; Cryosphere; Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Global Environmental Change; Natural Hazards
Robert J. Myers, Theresa Schwerin

K-12 geoscience teacher professional development can take many forms. This session shares what works in the way of teachers 1) learning content from Earth system perspectives and 2) implementing inquiry-based lessons taking full advantage of the growing availability of data sets, visualizations and online tools. According to the Glenn Report: "...the way to interest children in mathematics and science is through teachers who are not only enthusiastic about their subjects, but who are also steeped in their disciplines and who have the professional training – as teachers – to teach those subjects well. Nor is this teacher training simply a matter of preparation; it depends just as much – or even more – on sustained, high-quality professional development" (p. 1). This article states Earth and space sciences are in great need for professional development. Teachers find themselves inadequately qualified to teach science and find that professional development is not available or lacking in quality.



ED14: Geocognition and Geoscience Education Research: Why Do It, Who Does It, What Academic Departments Support It, and What Geoscience Community Support Can Guide the Development of New Geoscience Education Research Programs?
Education and Human Resources
Leilani Arthurs, Douglas Duncan, Julie Libarkin

Geocognition and geoscience education research is an emerging field of research that uses quantitative and qualitative methods to further our understanding of how students and experts perceive, learn, and apply geological principles and concepts. At least 18 U.S. universities now offer graduate programs engaged in this kind of research, and there exists interest among other institutions in developing similar programs. Abstracts are solicited from institutions in which this kind of research is currently being conducted in earth and/or space sciences. Abstracts should discuss the history of the inception of the research program, major programmatic and research results achieved thus far, and how the program is currently sustained. The session is intended as a forum for learning how existing programs were conceived and operate and for dialogue between those in existing programs and those considering the development of such programs.



ED15: International Year of Astronomy 2009: Impacts in Education and Public Outreach and Plans Beyond
Education and Human Resources; Planetary Sciences
Leslie Lynne Lowes, Edna Devore, Constance Walker, Stephen Pompea

2009 has seen the recognition of 400 years since Galileo Galilei made and recorded his first observations through a telescope of the sun, the planets, and other astronomical objects, and of Johannes Kepler's publications of Astronomia Nova describing planetary orbits. The International Year of Astronomy (IYA) was declared by the International Astronomical Union and the General Assembly of the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, in global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to society and culture.

Programs and events for educators and the public, sponsored by a wide variety of scientific, technical, educational, and cultural organizations including the American Astronomical Society and NASA, have taken place across the United States and internationally. These events have served the goals of IYA to spread awareness of astronomy's contributions to society and culture, stimulate young people's interest in science, portray astronomy as a global peaceful endeavor, and nourish a scientific outlook in society.

We invite presentations by coordinators and sponsors of these events and activities, from small community star parties, to museum displays, to social media and citizen science internet projects, to international cornerstone projects. The focus of the reports should be successful techniques used in all aspects of their IYA programs, results and impact on the audience, and plans and/or challenges for maintaining or extending the program beyond IYA itself.



ED16: Student Recruitment, Curriculum Design, and More: Strategies and Resources for Building Strong Geoscience Departments
Education and Human Resources
Carol J. Ormand, Randall M. Richardson, R. Heather McDonald

Some geoscience departments are thriving while others struggle for survival. Those that thrive are successful at recruiting students and preparing them for future careers via their curricula and other aspects of their programs. They are also successful at articulating their successes to prospective students, current students, faculty advisors, alumni, employers, and institutional administrators. Successful curricula are designed to produce alumni with the knowledge and skills they will need for the next stage. In this session we seek contributions from departments of successful strategies, assessments for determining success, and supporting resources related to recruitment of undergraduate and/or graduate students, curriculum design, developing students for the professional geoscience workforce, program and student learning assessment, and program development beyond the curriculum.



ED17: Improved Broader Impacts = Enhanced Scientific Impacts
Education and Human Resources; Public Affairs
Gail Scowcroft, Leisl Hotaling

Conveying scientific research to the public is increasing in importance to scientists and society. Scientists are required to include broader impact activities to obtain or leverage funding, strengthen status within peer groups, and enhance graduate student professional development. In addition, scientists are often intrinsically motivated to share their research with the world.

This session will solicit contributions that provide examples of transferable and tractable activities, which broaden the awareness of outreach activities such as work with citizen scientists groups, the media, and formal and informal science education institutions. Suggested areas for presenters to address can include but are not limited to: - online educational activities and/or resources - activities that may inspire and empower other scientists to reach out to diverse audiences - examples of broader impact activity successes, effective practices and value to the scientific community

Contributions which focus on methods for gauging activity efficacy are of special interest.


ED18: Simulations, Animations, and Interactive Multimedia for Planetary Sciences Teaching and Learning
Education and Human Resources; Planetary Sciences
Randy Russell, Erin Wood

Computer-based animations, simulations, and interactive multimedia are being developed and used with growing frequency in many science-education disciplines at all age levels. Such materials are employed across formal education, informal education, and educational outreach settings. Many concepts in the planetary sciences can be more readily learned or more fully appreciated through the use of sophisticated graphics and animations and via the experience of manipulating variables to explore various "what if" scenarios in visually (and sometimes audially) rich environments. However, computer-based media often require significant resources to produce, so widespread dissemination to educators is essential to justify (in both economic and societal terms) the investment in their development . This session will showcase simulations, interactive multimedia, and animations designed to assist the teaching and learning of concepts important in the planetary sciences. Presenters are strongly encouraged to demonstrate materials as a portion of their presentations.



ED19: Representing Geoscience Data: For Research, Instruction, and Communicating with the Public
Education and Human Resources; Atmospheric Sciences; Biogeosciences; Earth and Planetary Surface Processes; Earth and Space Science Informatics; Hydrology; Mineral and Rock Physics; Ocean Sciences; Study of Earth's Deep Interior; Tectonophysics; Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology
David W. Mogk; Cathryn A. Manduca

Representations of geoscience data have many functions: analysis by researchers to reveal fundamental processes or relations among multiple variables; communication of results to inform new audiences (peers via journal articles and presentations); to facilitate instruction of students; and to explain and interpret natural phenomena to the interested public. However, the many types of graphs, visualizations, animations, physical models, virtual environments and other representations that are used to represent geoscience concepts, processes and relations may present significant barriers to understanding by novice audiences. Recent research on learning provides important insights into ways that people perceive and learn from visual representations. This session will explore the many ways data representations can be used effectively to analyze data and communicate results to a variety of audiences.



ED20: Developing Sustainable Education and Outreach Programs and Projects: Lessons Learned
Education and Human Resources
Roberta M. Johnson, Diana Dalbotten, Emily Cobabe-Ammann, Constance Walker, Stephen Pompea, Rajul Pandya

Within the Earth and Space Science education community, there have been many successes in developing quality educational projects and programs with support from funding agencies and other sponsors. A more elusive goal is finding a way to support sustained operation of these projects and programs, beyond hosting them in digital libraries, once support from funding sources inevitably ends. While maintaining a copy of an educational resource in a digital library prevents it being lost forever, it does not provide the support needed to update the resource nor offer the program to future users. Given the realities of funding limitations and restrictions at agencies and other sponsors, and their interest in promoting long-term sustainability of the projects they sponsor, it would be beneficial for the geoscience education community to discuss existing or possible models for sustainable education and outreach programs and projects, with the hope of developing approaches that might be beneficial to the community. This session seeks contributions that describe approaches community members have taken to develop sustainable education and/or outreach projects or programs. What approaches have you tried that have worked? What approaches have not worked? Are entrepreneurial approaches viable for our community, and what benefits and drawbacks are associated with them? Contributions that examine models involving non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, and mixed models, are all welcome.



ED21: Teacher Professional Development Programs Promoting Authentic Scientific Research in the Classroom
Education and Human Resources
Constance E. Walker, Gail Scowcroft, Stephen M. Pompea

This session will focus on scientists, educators, education researchers, evaluators and funding agency program officers providing K-12 teachers with authentic research experiences in science and engineering. Presentations should highlight best practices for the "Teacher Research Experience" (TRE) model. Presentations by those who design, facilitate, evaluate, and fund TRE programs are especially encouraged, as well as presentations by teachers and scientists who have participated in such programs.

Suggested areas for presenters to address can include but are not limited to: - The enhanced transfer of knowledge from the teacher/researcher to the students through implementing a research program within the classroom - How these teacher professional development programs play an essential role in science education reform and teacher retention and renewal - Examples of effective programs and techniques for assessing TRE programs - The transformation of the educational environment into an authentic research center - How best to prepare teachers to become part of scientific research teams - The use of o Online learning in teacher professional development o Support systems for teacher researchers o Research community collaboration and o Program assessment and evaluation. - Examples of the value to the scientific community of involving teachers in research - Recommendations for designing and implementing research experiences that align with national, state, and/or local reform efforts in science education - The framework for conceptual learning in terms of the curricula and embedded research activities

Presentations on new or ongoing successful models for long and short-term teacher research experiences are invited from the fields of space science, environmental science, atmospheric science, earth science, oceanography, etc. Scientist-teacher research teams are particularly encouraged to submit abstracts for the session. Printed and CD-based materials may be brought by participants to the session to be distributed to attendees.



ED22: Designing Effective Research Experiences for Undergraduates
Education and Human Resources
Karen Campbell, Diana Dalbotten

Undergraduate research is an effective method of introducing students to the advantages and challenges that face research scientists. This session calls for proposals that describe unique and innovative approaches to designing effective Research Experience for Undergraduate Programs. We especially encourage proposals that examine team-building activities, unusual research projects, and methods for attracting and engaging a diversity of participants. communicating science to broad audiences.


ED23: Geoscience Alliance–Broadening Participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences
Education and Human Resources
Diana Dalbotten, Suzanne Zurn-Birkhimer, Rajul Pandya

This session is aimed at broadening participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences. Submissions to this session should focus on new research in geoscience education that defines best practices, inclusion of Native voices in geoscience research, the potential for new collaborations, and promotion of opportunities for Native students and communities. Native students are also encouraged to submit abstracts describing results of their recent research activities in any geoscience discipline. Participants are encouraged to join the Geoscience Alliance, which fosters participation of Native Americans in the Geosciences.


ED24: The Commitment to Diversity in Earth System Science: Using Scientific Opportunity to Meet Global Needs
Education and Human Resources
Ashanti Johnson, Vivian Williamson Whitney, Sandra Thomas, Susie Valaitis

In most cases, indigenous people are underrepresented as decision makers during discussions regarding ecological and economic impacts on the places they inhabit. Wisdom and views of indigenous people must be included in policies and practices to safeguard natural resources. The Earth system science (ESS) community must overcome several obstacles in order to achieve diversity in membership commensurate with the international population for better decision making. These obstacles include (a) lack of ESS awareness within indigenous (and minority) communities; (b) small numbers of visible role models, and; (c) small number of ESS programs at minority serving institutions and in developing areas around the globe. Submissions are invited which present information through multiple perspectives (students, faculty, administrators and evaluators, etc.), and which document the work of stakeholders as they fuse academic, research and diversity activities necessary to foster a more inclusive and globally-focused ESS community.


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