In the Trenches - July 2021

Inspiring Teacher Leaders and Authentic Learning

Volume 11, Number 3

In This Issue

Online Supplements

This site provides web links that supplement the print articles as well as news and web resources. Members can follow the "Read more" links below to access full versions of the articles online. To receive the full edition of In the Trenches, join NAGT

Focusing on Earth Sciences Teacher Leader Standards

KATHERINE K. ELLINS ( is program director for Geoscience Education Research, Office of Broader Impacts, Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, and SUZANNE T. METLAY ( is Earth Sciences Education faculty in Teachers College, Western Governors University, Salt Lake City, UT.

While teacher leader standards are well established in K-12 education, none provide guidance specifically for Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) educators. National recognition for excellence in K-12 Earth Sciences education is under development by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Teacher Education Division (TED). This initiative builds upon and works alongside the state-based and regional Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Awards program adopted by NAGT in 1971 to honor pre-college teachers of Earth Sciences (NAGT OEST, n.d.). Read more...

My Path into Teacher Leadership

LAURA HOLLISTER (, Past President of NAGT TED, is a Living Earth, APES, and Geoscience educator at Pitman High School, Turlock, CA.

It's funny how the little choices we make can have such a big influence on our lives.


In the early 1990s when I was taking classes at Modesto Junior College (MJC), my friend Curtiss told me to take a geology class from a fun and interesting professor. That was how I met Garry Hayes, who would become my mentor and my friend.  Read more...


Earth Sciences Teacher Leader Standards

Teacher Education Division, National Association of Geoscience Teachers

These proposed standards are under development by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) Teacher Education Division (TED) to provide national recognition for excellence in K-12 Earth Sciences education.


We recommend these standards to support Earth Sciences educators in their personal goals, professional growth, and career advancement; help guide teacher preparation and professional development; and fit into the broader objectives of the Earth & Space Sciences education community. Read more...

Blazing the Trail: Offering a New Framework for Teaching Field-Based Geoscience at the Secondary and College Level

NILO BILL ( is the Science Department Chair at Tahoe Expedition Academy, Truckee, CA.

There has been a general push in geoscience education to include more fieldwork as part of classes at every level, but there are very few resources for guiding geoscience educators in best practices for teaching using field-based techniques. A need exists for more intentional program design in field-based geoscience (O'Connell et al., 2020) and the framework presented here attempts to fill that need.  Read more...

Using Fruit Spreads to Aid Research in the Undergraduate Laboratory

NINA BAGHAI-RIDING ( is a professor, LARRY COLLINS ( is an instructor, and CHARLES SMITHHART ( is an associate professor, all in the Division of Mathematics and Sciences at Delta State University, Cleveland, MS.

Course-based Research Experiences (CUREs) have been a growing area of interest for geoscience educators. Auchincloss et al., (2014) describes these courses as involving a whole class of students in the investigation of a research question that is also applicable to a larger scientific community. CUREs must enable students to make discoveries by collecting and analyzing data to get results that are informative to the broader scientific community (Spell et al., 2014). At Delta State University, upper-division undergraduate science laboratories are transformed into an experience where students engage in collaboration, conduct authentic research, and have practice in communicating scientific findings. Read more...

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