NAGT > Publications > In the Trenches > In the Trenches - January 2019

In the Trenches - January 2019

Active Learning: In the Field, Classroom, and VR

Volume 9, Number 1

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

Designing Geoscience Field Trips for the K-12 Classroom

Tarin H. Weiss, Westfield State University, Westfield, MA

The field trip is the classic geological learning experience — and ubiquitous in higher education. However, its frequency is waning in K-12 settings (Greene et al., 2014; Jason, 2011). During recessionary times, up to 34% of school administrators reported eliminating field trips in favor of more time and resources for test preparation (Ellerson, 2015). This is an unwelcome trend as many learners benefit from out-of-school experiences, both in the cognitive and affective domains (Nabors et al., 2009; Whitesell, 2015; Greene et al., 2014; Hill et al., 2006). Because field trips are second-nature to geoscientists, we can help buck their diminishing trend in the K-12 curriculum by proposing local, affordable, and educationally stimulating field trips. Read more...
  • The NGSS website is a user-friendly searchable interface that explains the new standards and how they are constructed out of three dimensions: cross-cutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas
  • Class Flow Website - A good source for creating interactive lessons that can house virtual field trips

Tablets in the Field 2019: New Tools and Techniques for Student-created Virtual Field Environments

Frank D. Granshaw, Portland State University, Portland, OR

This article is a follow-up to a piece I wrote in 2013 about tools and strategies for student-created virtual field environments or VFEs (Granshaw, 2013). A VFE is a simple virtual reality environment based on real field sites that provides students experience with inaccessible places and that can help them prepare for and / or review actual fieldwork. With the proper tools, having students build a VFE can be a compelling activity that teaches a wide variety of field skills in some unique and holistic ways. Key developments since 2013 make revisiting the question of student-constructed VFEs particularly timely. Chief among these are the following...
- A rapid increase in the popularity of virtual reality for gaming and education
- The development of new tablet / phone-based tools that make the construction of virtual reality faster, more intuitive, and more collaborative
- The greater variety of experiences possible that involve student groups engaged in constructing VFEs Read more...

Integrating Climate Science into NGSS-aligned High School Stem Courses

Yarrow Axford, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Aida Awad, To The Cloud EDU, Buckeye, AZ; and Amy Pratt Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

An intriguing study published last spring in Nature Climate Change points to one way that teachers can affect public understanding of climate change, even without teaching about climate. It turns out that a student's interest in science during junior high has a big effect on whether he or she, regardless of political affiliation (Motta, 2018), trusts scientific authorities on climate change (like NASA and NOAA) many years later as an adult. What a validation of the power of K-12 science teachers! Many readers of In the Trenches promote understanding of climate change by teaching climate science in their classrooms. The topic is a natural fit for Earth and environmental science classes. But in a recent workshop for high school teachers, we argued that climate science also provides exciting opportunities to teach NGSS-aligned concepts in high school classes about other STEM subjects. Climate science is intensely interdisciplinary and provides meaningful, realworld examples of core ideas, science and engineering practices, and cross-cutting themes that can enliven traditional courses in chemistry, physics, and biology. Read more...

Active Learning Via Earth Science Posters

Rachel Beane, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME

Teaching is more effective when students are active participants in their learning. The posters here introduce to educators active learning strategies that may be readily adopted into a variety of class settings to expand the ways in which we engage students and enhance their ability to learn. Originally created for sessions at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers' sponsored On the Cutting Edge Workshop for Early Career Geoscience Faculty, the posters were crafted to introduce evidence-based approaches and guide Earth educators toward designing classes that routinely engage students in active learning. They illustrate strategies such as ConcepTest, Cooperative Exam, Gallery Walk, Jigsaw, Minute Paper, Think-Pair-Share, and Wrapper, introducing active learning strategies, presenting Earth science examples, communicating the steps needed to implement the techniques, describing advantages of the strategies, and providing relevant references. Read more...

  • Posters mentioned in the article are provided here (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.6MB Feb8 19)

Go with the Flow: Teaching about the Viscosity of Lava

Christopher Roemmele, West Chester University, West Chester, PA

The viscosity of lava is an important control on the explosiveness of a volcanic eruption. Using a series of three short demonstrations, students can compare and contrast this characteristic of felsic and mafic magma / lava and get a better understanding of viscosity and how it impacts eruptions and volcano type. Students in an introductory geology class may associate volcanoes with violent eruptions that wreak havoc upon their surroundings. That may be true for some volcanoes, as tephra and gas are sent thousands of feet into the atmosphere or spread laterally across the surface. But there are many volcanoes on our planet that do not erupt violently and do not pose the same risk to the land and living things in their vicinities. Read more...

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