Initial Publication Date: July 16, 2012

In the Trenches - July 2012

Volume 2, Number 3

In This Issue

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Learning About Karst: Connecting with Students in their Backyards

William K. Jones, Karst Waters Institute, Warm Springs, Virginia

"According to Earth Science Literacy Principles (Wysession et al., 2009), K-12 students need to understand the Earth operates as a complex system and be empowered to make "informed and responsible" decisions about the Earth's resources. One way educators can embed these overarching goals in their curricula is to include topics that are relevant to students because they may directly affect their lives.
  • Science in My Backyard - Allison Beauregard, Northwest Florida State College
    In this lab report writing assignment, students will use the scientific method to solve a real life problem from their own lives.

Island Karst: Constraints in Time and Space

John and Joan Mylroie, Mississippi State university, Mississippi State, Mississippi

"As Bill Jones noted in his article on Pages 1-5, karst landscapes are those that form on soluble rock, most commonly limestone. Limestone has formed in warm shallow seas for hundreds of millions of years, and most of the limestones that Bill described are old, recrystallized, and mature limestones from continental interiors. As such, they are distant in time and space from where they were deposited. If we go to the places where limestones are being made today, such as the Bahamian Archipelago, we see karst in an entirely different way. Young limestone islands provide constraints on how limestones are formed and how karst processes affect them. These constraints and effects are dramatic on small limestone islands, such as San Salvador Island in the Bahamas."

Building Esprit de Corps by Building Tools

Ryan A. Hillier and Marjorie A. Chan, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

"Have you ever lamented that your undergraduates lack cohesion as a group or don't understand the tools of their discipline? Consider engaging them in a team-building project that builds a product to be used by future students in the department. One of our undergraduates recently constructed 20 Jacob's staffs for measuring stratigraphic sections. He applied principles of economics, learned that the construction of simple instruments is not always so simple, and enhanced his understanding of the methods used to document measurements of stratigraphic sections. Finally, the student who worked on the staffs (the senior author of this article) instructed students in the sedimentology/ stratigraphy class on how to use the staffs."

Supporting the Teaching of Teachers: A Call for Assistance

Jennifer L. B. Anderson, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota, and Kyle Gay, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa

"Many NAGT members work closely with both current and future K-12 teachers to improve primary and secondary Earth and space science education. We do this in a variety of ways including teaching undergraduate Earth and space science content courses for pre-service teachers, organizing summer workshops for in-service teachers, and conducting research on teaching and learning in these areas. Yet even though many of us engage K-12 teachers on a regular basis, it can be difficult to sustain such efforts, especially if you are the lone Earth science educator at your institution."
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Web Features

NAGT, its members, and its sponsored projects have produced a number of resources related to the topics addressed in this issue.

On the Cutting Edge: Teaching Hydrogeology

The field of hydrogeology is one of the largest employers of geologists. The fact that many geology graduates find employment in this field with only a bachelor's degree emphasizes the importance of teaching hydrogeology well at the undergraduate level. This topical site from On the Cutting Edge presents a variety of resources for faculty members who teach undergraduate hydrogeology. There are links to a collection of activities and assignments, internet and computer resources, useful articles, presentations from the summer 2005 workshop on teaching hydrogeology, and lots of creative ideas for teaching hydrogeology.

Preparing Teachers to Teach Earth Science

This site examines the role of geoscience departments and faculty in preparing preservice teachers and supporting practicing teachers who teach Earth science at all pre-college levels. There is a wealth of information drawn from workshops and interviews with current and future teachers.

Karst Information Portal

The Karst Information Portal is an open-access digital library linking scientists, managers, and explorers to quality information resources in order to inform research, to enhance collaboration, and to address policy decisions concerning karst environments.

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