TerraElm: Geology Outreach as a Developmental Tool

Peter Anderson
Wharton County Junior College
Peter Anderson, San Jacinto College-North Campus
published Apr 18, 2017

We focus on presenting to 5th grade students the basics of the geological sciences profession and in a more general sense science; as well as finding a career path that can allow for you to be active and not be confined to a sedentary position. We want to introduce young children to science and show them it can be fun, and that they have more options for the future than they may realize. I try to make the presentations fall on dates where me and a fellow geologist (a female) can present together. The reason for this is to show the young girls that anyone, not just old white men, can be a scientist. Eventually we hope to expand into other nearby regions as students and professionals show us they are willing to help, present, and fund this endeavor. The presentations are approximately 1h in length, to no more than 30 children at a time.

To date we estimate our impact on the community as follows: If there are approximately 25 children in a class, and 4 – 6 classes per school visit, and I have visited 34 schools, we have reached between 3400 – 5100 total students. (Several schools are counted twice due to annual visits).

The overall goals of the program are two-fold as detailed below.
- To improve the education of elementary aged students in the greater Houston/Katy metropolitan area with regard to Earth and Energy Sciences.
- To promote gender equality within the scientific community (We have both a male and female presenter when possible)
- To teach children that the scientific method can involve the hands on examination of objects
- To show the students that science can be fun and can allow you to get outside and travel the world

- Evaluate the effectiveness and utility for the program as a whole
- Evaluate the utility of this program for the participating graduate students, and early career geologist presenters as a tool for earth science communication development.


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