Planetarium Shows: Public Outreach and Changing the Approach to Classroom Teaching
We are successfully using the planetarium experience as a method of increasing the public's knowledge of science for the last few years. The results with pre and post testing have shown that there is an increased level of science knowledge. With this level of achievement it was plausible that the next step would be introducing it into the classroom, particularly at an open admissions university with a multi-racial and ethnic population and in the non-majors science courses. Creating an atmosphere of excitement and interest in science within this group of students is difficult, particularly with those students who have minimal exposure to science and have little or no interest in the subject. They have preconceived ideas that the subject is boring, difficult and has no relation to their future career paths. Coupled with this apathy, not only in students but in segments of the public, there is an increasing need to educate all groups on environmental issues and the need to promote science and science research. Traditional teaching methods are not effective, and based on the outreach levels of success, we are introducing planetarium shows that are not only entertaining but include scientific concepts Most colleges and universities do not have a fixed planetarium, but a portable planetarium can serve the same purpose. The planetarium does not replace the traditional classroom and laboratory experience, but augments it. The shows, including the freeware Stellarium, can be incorporated into college and university classes from the physical to the biological sciences. For example, the show Titanic includes information on the effects of solar maximums and minimums on climate and changes in the last 100 years on ship building. Another show, Ice Worlds, includes information on polar geology and biology but also explains its importance as a terrestrial analogue for interpreting the remote sensing information obtained with robotic missions to the icy worlds in our outer solar system. Transferring some of the successful public outreach models to the classroom can be an important step in changing how we teach non-science majors courses. The student, by merely increasing their excitement about science, will communicate this change in attitude to their family, but also to other members of their community.
Caracas Seismological Museum: A space to develop an interactive experience between community and Venezuelan seismic culture.
Caracas is a city with a relative high seismic hazard. The last damaged earthquake occurred in 1967. This is a fundamental fact to favor a policy that promote a scientific popularization center having as a prime mission, to spread knowledge about earth sciences, particularly seismology. Another face of this main purpose is to educate people about how to protect themselves in case of a natural seismic event occur. We present the characteristics and social impact of an effort to create in Caracas an open and alive space able to transform a visit in a meaningful experience, stimulating the interest in the natural history, the singular geological features and promoting dialogue and reflection among the visitors as a participants in a reality where awareness about the geological risks is a need to preserved live and ensure a right attitude towards decrease vulnerability among the population. One of the highlights of this project was to recover and to restore a diverse set of obsolete instruments as well as an old construction and its surrounding area, to design a playful and recreational spot to learn about seismic culture and vulnerability reduction with the community as a protagonist of their own social evolution by means of bolstering local resilience and improving earthquake preparedness.
Geoheritage Values at Greenmantle Farm
The Greenmantle Farm occurrence near Wilberforce, Ontario is a marble feature within the Grenville Province
of the Precambrian Shield that hosts a diverse suite of amphibole minerals. The marble is of undetermined
petrogenesis, and is possibly either a primary carbonatite intrusion or a derived melt of metasedimentary
origin. The site is the type locality for the rare mineral fluorrichterite. Other minerals of note are orthoclase and
apatite. Crystal size is relatively large, and all minerals, with the exception of calcite, exhibit generally good to
excellent euhedral form.
Of note is that the mineral occurrences at this site have not been subjected to any human disturbance
including mechanical or hand tool disruption. The site also provides excellent examples of a number of
geological features and ecosystem dynamics. In particular, faulting, moisture regime landscape
interrelationships, order of crystallization in zoned dykes, and calciphile plant associations are demonstrated.
This site represents an exceptional viewing opportunity of an unspoiled mineral occurrence while providing
illustrative examples of the interrelationship of abiotic and biotic features. In terms of research, the site will
prove to be a valuable subject in regard to amphibole composition, amphibole differentiation in calcareous
melts, and will ultimately provide insight into the formation of the occurrence. Determination of what
circumstances these marble bodies formed under would add a significant piece of information to the complex
history of the Grenville province. This research will be assisted by the completely uncompromised nature of the
site. The potential educational value of the site for researchers and grade school students alike is exceptional.
Exploring Connections Between Earth Science and Biology - Interdisciplinary Science Activities for Schools
To increase teaching of Earth science in schools, and to reflect the interdisciplinary nature and interrelatedness of science disciplines in today's world, we are exploring opportunities for linking Earth science and Biology through engaging and innovative hands-on science activities for the classroom. Through the NSERC-funded Pacific CRYSTAL project based at the University of Victoria, scientists, science educators, and teachers at all levels in the school system are collaborating to research ways of enriching the preparation of students in math and science, and improving the quality of science education from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Our primary foci are building authentic, engaging science experiences for students, and fostering teacher leadership through teacher professional development and training. Interdisciplinary science activities represent an important way of making student science experiences real, engaging and relevant, and provide opportunities to highlight Earth science related topics within other disciplines, and to expand the Earth science taught in schools. The Earth science and Biology interdisciplinary project builds on results and experiences of existing Earth science education activities, and the Seaquaria project. We are developing curriculum-linked activities and resource materials, and hosting teacher workshops, around two initial areas; soils, and marine life and the fossil record. An example activity for the latter is the hands-on examination of organisms occupying the nearshore marine environment using a saltwater aquarium and touch tank or beach fieldtrip, and relating this to a suite of marine fossils to facilitate student thinking about representation of life in the fossil record e.g. which life forms are typically preserved, and how are they preserved? Literacy activities such as fossil obituaries encourage exploration of paleoenvironments and life habits of fossil organisms. Activities and resources are being tested with teachers and student teachers through workshops, at teacher conferences, and participating Faculties of Education.
Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Mining Matters: A Model of Effective Outreach
Attracting Students to the Earth Sciences: an Example of Individual and Collective Outreach Efforts by Industry, Academia and Secondary Education
Too few Canadian high-school students are pursuing post-secondary studies and career opportunities in the Earth Sciences. Given Canada's wealth of renewable and non-renewable resources and their importance to society, it is imperative that all students become literate in the Earth Sciences, and that they are encouraged to pursue career opportunities in the many fields that comprise the Earth Sciences. To achieve these goals, a number of outreach efforts by members of industry, academia and secondary education have been initiated in Canada. We outline here an example of our own collaboration in one such program directed not only at students, but also at primary and secondary teachers, university faculty, industry representatives and government officials. Our program has achieved significant results, and so will continue. Others interested in increasing the profile of the Earth Sciences will be are encouraged to explore such new outreach approaches.
Career Guidance and Counseling in Educating Female Scientists Of a Developing Nation
The study area is Nigeria as a developing nation. A nation that must be developed must devote a high percentage of her resources to support the education of her women. To educate a woman is to educate a nation. This paper seeks to understand the problems of women scientists from the high school level. Three high schools were chosen, two of them are females only while one is a mixed school. Observations reveal that the problems encountered in Nigeria, by females in science education has a lot of link with lack of Career Guidance Counselors at the high school level. Where they have, female students are not advised properly in the sciences, hence majority of the girls end up with the arts and humanities. It is concluded therefore that every high school in a developing nation must have Departments of Guidance and Counseling for Science and Arts Faculties.
Communicating the History of the Earth
There is much to be learned from the relationship between scientific academic research and the way the public understands and perceives natural geological phenomena including catastrophic situations. While news about science discoveries or accidents is disseminated more and more rapidly than ever, its scientific content is still very low and usually not easy to understand - except for a small community of experts. On the other hand, scientists are increasingly able to predict - at least to some degree - catastrophes such as volcanic eruptions, flooding, landslides, etc. There is thus an urgency to better disseminate to the public the understanding of these natural events but with deeper perspectives that will provoke critical reactions from the public and thus proactive ways to access to knowledge. One particular point is to provide easy, non-dramatic scientific experience to young people. My own efforts in this direction started in 2002 with youth oriented outreach Web site 'Les Chroniques volcaniques avec Vicki Volka'. Over the years it has evolved and spawned a children's book about volcanoes, educational fact sheets, visits to schools, field geological excursions for the public and last year a day camp for 8-12 year olds. Supported through my research centre, GEOTOP, I have been able to put efforts towards a large range of ages. I will explain the most recent experience we conducted via the summer scientific 'academic' camp, starting last year with one theme about volcanoes and continuing this year with a complementary theme about fossils and Earth History. One key point is to introduce young people with many different ways to achieve scientific objectives and to encourage them to reproduce their results in front of a familiar audience (their families): this is a good way to lead the future generations to a high level of understanding of their environment, natural history as well as to taking responsibilities in front of crucial issues.
Integrated Design for Geoscience Education with Upward Bound Students
Capturing the interest of our students is imperative to expand the conduit of future Earth scientists in the United
States. According to the Rising Above the Gathering Storm report (2005), we must increase America's talent
pool by improving K-12 mathematics and science education. Geoscience education is uniquely suited to
accomplish this goal, as we have become acutely aware of our sensitivity to the destructive forces of nature.
The educational community must take advantage of this heightened awareness to educate our students and
ensure the next generation rebuilds the scientific and technological base on which our society rests. In
response to these concerns, the National Science Foundation advocates initiatives in Geoscience Education
such as IDGE (Integrated Design for Geoscience Education), which is an inquiry-based geoscience program
for Upward Bound (UB) students at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. The UB program targets
low-income under-represented students for a summer academic-enrichment program. IDGE builds on the
mission of UB by encouraging underprivileged students to investigate science and scientific careers. During
the two year project, high school students participated in an Environmental Inquiry course utilizing GLOBE
program materials and on-line learning modules developed by geoscience specialists in land cover, soils,
hydrology, phenology, and meteorology. Students continued to an advanced course which required IDGE
students to collaborate with GLOBE students from Costa Rica. The culmination of this project was an
educational expedition in Costa Rica to complete ecological field studies, providing first-hand knowledge of the
international responsibility we have as scientists and citizens of our planet. IDGE was designed to
continuously serve educators and students. By coordinating initiatives with GLOBE headquarters and the
GLOBE country community, IDGE's efforts have yielded multiple ways in which to optimize positive implications
of the project. On-line learning modules continue to expand the number impacted by the program. Through
collaboration with both GLOBE headquarters and the GLOBE Country Coordinator, an international teacher
workshop in Costa Rica provided GLOBE training and equipment necessary for a true GLOBE student
collaborative project. IDGE continues to expand the impacts beyond the limited participants involved in the
program. Overall, the preliminary results show sufficient data that IDGE is successful in: exposing students to
an inquiry-based hands-on science experience; providing a positive challenging yet enjoyable science
experience for students; providing a science experience which was different than their formal science class;
enhancing or maintaining positive attitudes and habits of mind about science; improving some student
perceptions of science, science processes, and the nature of science; increasing the number of students
considering science careers; enhanced student understanding of the importance of science knowledge and
coursework for everyone. Through the practice of field research and inquiry-based learning, the quality of
geoscience instruction is inspiring a new generation of geoscientists. This work was supported in part by the
National Science Foundation under award #0735596. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or
recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of
the National Science Foundation.