In the Trenches - January 2011

Volume 1, Number 1

In This Issue

Online Supplements

This site provides web links that supplement the print articles as well as news and web resources. To receive the full edition of In the Trenches join NAGT

School in the Cool: Backyard "Lab" Gives Students Firsthand Look at Effects of Climate Change, Cathy Connor, University of Alaska Southeast

Glacier Term

Cathy Conner, a professor of geology in the Department of Natural Sciences, University Alaska Southeast, in Juneau, Alaska, describes teaching about climate change in School in the Cool: Backyard "Lab" Gives Students Firsthand Look at Effects of Climate Change. The article describes the types of measurements students make and how they use those data to investigate climate change. The project involves secondary school students, teachers, undergraduates and graduate students with hands-on experience.

Climate Literacy: What It Is and Why It's Important

Climate Literacy

In a related article, Susan Buhr, director of the K12 Education and Outreach Program at CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences) in Boulder, Colorado, discusses Climate Literacy: What It Is and Why It's Important. This paper describes the tenets of climate literacy as well as the essential principles of climate science. Such information is critical to educators at all levels.

Data in the Classroom

Plastic Bottles

A pair of data-rich climate change-related labs used in high schools is described by Krista Larsen, a high school teacher from Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington. The article provides insights into how and why such activities can be integrated into the curriculum. You can view the activities themselves at: Greenhouse Effect Lab and Global Warming Graph Analysis Activity

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Web Features

NAGT, its members, and its sponsored projects have been engaged in other activities to help improve the teaching of Climate Change in geoscience classes.


Teach the Earth SiteGuide: Climate Change and Global Warming
Teach the Earth is the portal to a large collection of teaching activities and pedagogical materials related to geoscience that have been developed by several dozen projects. SiteGuides are a way of seeing materials on a particular topic regardless of which project developed them. Each Site Guide tackles a particular topic of interest to educators and highlights relevant resources. The Climate Change and Global Warming SiteGuide provides links to general collections of resources, websites and data sets, teaching activities, visualizations, courses, and workshops from various projects.

Climate Change Teaching Activities
This link provides access to a growing collection of more than 1000 climate change teaching activities submitted by educators from around the country teaching at many levels. You can share activities that you use in class via a form on the NAGT website. Some of the available activities include:

Teaching Climate Change- NAGT Position Statement
"The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) recognizes: (1) that Earth's climate is changing, (2) that present warming trends are largely the result of human activities, and (3) that teaching climate change science is a fundamental and integral part of earth science education." Read more...

Climate-Related DataSheets
DataSheets concisely describe a particular scientific dataset in a way that is useful to educators interested in teaching with the data set. They highlight the connections between data sets and specific topics in science; they explicate how to acquire the data and include (when available) links to classroom activities that use the data. The DataSheets on the Using Data in the Classroom website are excellent sources of climate data along with information on how to use them in the classroom.

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News and Advertisements View Website News Releases

Community Advertisements: Tenure-Track Position in Geoscience Education at Georgia Tech
The Department of Geosciences anticipates hiring for a tenure-track faculty member at the Assistant Professor level pending budgetary approval, whose professional development is in the area of geoscience education. The area of research in geoscience education is open.

JGE Special Issue: Geoscience Education and Global Development - Submission Deadline: January 15, 2011
This special issue will focus on work being conducted globally in which geoscience education is a means to support human development goals, including universal access to education, elimination of poverty, gender equality, and environmental sustainability. The Submission Deadline has been extended to January 15, 2011 to accommodate more authors. For more information on the issue and contact information for the editors of JGE, see the special issue page.

Far West Section Spring Meeting: March 25-27, 2011, at Caltech in Pasadena
Caltech's Tectonics Observatory is hosting the spring 2011 meeting of the Far Western Section of the NAGT. Field trips and short-course/lecture workshops will introduce participants to recent developments in tectonics, geochemistry, seismology, petrology and geomorphology. CEU's (continuing education units) will be available for participants through USC's Rossier School of Education. For a detailed schedule and application forms, go to For more information contact: Jeff Grover ( or Laurie Kovalenko (

North Central Section Meeting/Field Trip: July/August 2011
The North Central Section is making a third attempt at a meeting and field trip this summer (third time's a charm?). We'd like your input about when you can attend. Our dates are from July 18 – August 15. Go to the survey and select times you're available. The results will be compiled by January 31 and the dates and details announced soon after. Then come to beautiful, peaceful west central Wyoming, meet other geoscience educators and share curriculum ideas—all while spending as much time outdoors as possible. A good time will be had by all. For more information, contact: Suki Smaglik (

John R Wagner

Catalyst for Education Excellence - John R. Wagner
NAGT member and Clemson University Emeritus Professor of Geology John R. Wagner received the South Carolina Science Council's highest award for a science educator on November 5, 2010, at the council's annual convention. The Catalyst Award for Educational Excellence is presented each year to a science educator who has made a significant difference in the way science is taught in South Carolina. Wagner was honored for his work in several K-12 curriculum development projects for the Earth and environmental sciences, in particular the SC MAPS and SE MAPS programs, and for years of providing exemplary professional development opportunities for teachers through graduate courses, workshops and field experiences. The South Carolina Science Council, a chapter of the NAGT, boasts over 2,000 members from South Carolina's K12 and higher-education science teaching community.

On the Cutting Edge: Upcoming Workshop Deadlines

NAGT Award Program Deadlines

  • Scholarships for Field Study - February 16, 2011
    Each year, NAGT makes several $500 awards to undergraduate students to facilitate their study of field geoscience. These awards, previously given to students who attend a traditional summer field camp, are now available for students attending field-based courses at any time of year. For more information about the award and application instructions, see the program webpage.
  • Geoscience Teachers in the Park - March 15, 2011
    The Geoscience Teachers in Parks (GTIP) program is a collaborative effort between NAGT and the National Park Service to provide professional development for K12 teachers of geoscience. Two teachers will be selected for internships at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. For more information and application instructions, see the program webpage.

European Geoscience Union: Abstract Deadline - January 10, 2011
The European Geoscience Union 2011 General Assembly will be held in Vienna, Austria, April 3-8. There is one education-related session on the program: New, Original and Successful Ideas for Teaching Earth Sciences/EOS. Follow the link to learn more about the session and to submit an abstract. Deadline for abstract submission is January 10, 2011, 24:00.

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