In the Trenches - July 2011

Volume 1, Number 3

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

A Sense of the American Southwest: Place-Based Earth System Science for Diverse Students

ESAS students walk through Southwest geologic history on the Trail of Time at Grand Canyon. Details

Author Steven Semken explores what goes into our sense of place and how that can be used to teach Earth system science. He compares place-based learning to other styles of teaching and discusses his experiences implementing the practice in his "Earth Science in Arizona and the Southwest" course at Arizona State University.

City-As-Lab: Place-Based Education at the Heart of an Urban Geoscience Curriculum

Wayne Powell examines the challenges and opportunities of working with students whose only experience of the natural world is the urban, built environment. The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Brooklyn College has embraced place-based learning through a City-as-Lab approach - a series of service-learning experiences focused on the local urban environment during which students develop and practice skills that are of value to local employers and the community as a whole.

Earth Science Innovation in Midwestern National Parks

Learning on Lake Superior Details

Erika Vye of Michigan Technological college talks about how the Michigan Teacher Excellence Program is helping urban teachers become skilled in the art of presenting geological content and its deeper meanings in the context of the national parks.

Constructing Virtual Field Environments

Duggan-Haas and Granshaw describe what virtual fieldwork is and how it's different virtual field trips. Virtual fieldwork asks students to engage with a virtual field environment rather than simply following along as the educator points at a series of geologic features.

The President's Mid-Year Report

Read the full text of NAGT President Janis Treworgy's Mid-Year Report.

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Web Features

NAGT, its members, and its sponsored projects have been engaged in activities to help faculty address their students' connection to the environment and sense of place. One place to start would be last issue's Web Features on Teaching in the Field

Kéyah Math Project
The Kéyah Math Project has developed a series of versatile online activities in mathematical geoscience, using the natural and cultural landscapes of the Southwest United States as context and setting. These place-based exercises are available to enhance any undergraduate geoscience course, and may be of particular interest to students and teachers with cultural ties to the Southwest, including American Indian and Hispanic students and teachers.

Urban Students and Urban Issues
On the Cutting Edge had a workshop on teaching geoscience in an urban environment in 2008 and has developed a number of resources for faculty including:

  • teaching activity and assignments
  • ideas that could be developed into teaching activities
  • course descriptions for urban geoscience courses
  • a set of links to over 70 relevant websites

Teaching Urban Students
This Pedagogy in Action module was written by Wayne Powell of Brooklyn College, City University of New York. It addresses particular pedagogic questions associated with teaching geoscience in an urban environment: who are urban students, why teach urban students differently, and how to engage and support urban students? The module also includes a body of teaching activities that can be useful in urban classrooms.

Campus-Based Learning
Every campus has it's own particular issues and connections to the world around it. This Starting Point module by Suzanne Savanick of Macalester College helps faculty use the campus context to engage their students with geoscience concepts in more personally meaningful ways.

Outdoor Classroom
This 2009 workshop brought together faculty members in the field sciences (e.g., archaeology, ecology, geology, environmental science) for a workshop and discussion of how GPS-enabled field computers can enhance their teaching and research. The website archives presentations from the workshop as well as teaching activities developed by the participants. The workshop was part of the Associated College of the Midwest Faculty Career Enhancement (FaCE) program.

Selected Teaching Activities from Various Projects

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