Geological Society of America Annual Meeting

Phoenix, AZ
September 22-25, 2019
Conference Website

The Grand Canyon State welcomes the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting & Exposition to Phoenix in 2019, which marks both the 150th anniversary of John Wesley Powell’s first expedition through Grand Canyon and the 100th anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park! The program features 28 short courses and workshops, 6 symposia, and 201 topical sessions and symposia, plus activities, informal gatherings, and an exhibit hall.

Sunday, September 22

Transforming Geoscience Education with Interactive Models for Exploring Plate Tectonics

Kathryn Bateman, Amy Pallant

3:55 – 4:00 PM, Phoenix Convention Center, Special Presentation Area Hall A, North Building

The National Science Foundation-funded Geological models for Explorations Of Dynamic Earth (GEODE) project focuses on creating data visualizations and simulations designed to support secondary students in investigating the phenomena associated with plate tectonics and to develop system-level understandings of the dynamic earth. The GEODE curriculum is designed to have students develop their own explanations from evidence, investigate phenomena through data representations, and test hypotheses with a simulation. GEODE curriculum is built around a data visualization tool, the Seismic Explorer, and an interactive plate tectonics computer-based model, the Tectonic Explorer. Seismic Explorer allows students to visualize both up to the minute seismic data, data about rates of plate motion, and historic data about volcanic eruptions. Students then take the hypotheses they have developed and use Tectonic Explorer to examine dynamic plate interactions and how these interactions are responsible for volcanoes and mountains, mid-ocean ridges and trenches. Students set up scenarios in the model and observe the emergent phenomena. They choose the number of plates for their planet, draw continents on some or all of the plates, set vectors of motion for each plate, and finally set the relative densities of the oceanic crust on each plate. Then they run their simulation. We will demonstrate these tools and the interactive teacher supports we include in this online delivery system that help support the transformation of plate tectonic education.

Tuesday, September 24

Exploring Plate Tectonics with Models and an Online Curriculum

Kathryn Bateman, Amy Pallant, Scott McDonald, Trudi Lord

10:45 – 11:00 AM, Phoenix Convention Center, Special Presentation Area Hall A, North Building

Understanding Earth’s tectonic plate system is complicated. In this session, we will introduce a free online curriculum developed as part of the Geological models for Explorations Of the Dynamic Earth (GEODE) project, the specific models designed to support student learning, and the teacher edition aimed at supporting teachers’ implementation of the curriculum to facilitate increasingly sophisticated student understandings of plate tectonics. The curriculum called “What will Earth look like in 500 million years?” is designed to align with the Next Generation Science Standards and the research-based pedagogical framework of Ambitious Science Teaching. The curriculum uses two web-based tools to help students visualize what takes place at and below Earth’s surface as plates interact. The Seismic Explorer is a real-world data visualization tool used to investigate patterns of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The Tectonic Explorer is a three-dimensional, interactive, dynamic model used to test hypotheses about how plate motions and interactions result in landforms. This curriculum, designed for secondary school courses, leverages current science education research on a learning progression on plate tectonics, Ambitious Science Teaching, and research on educational technology and models. Using “What will Earth look like in 500 million years?” as a framing phenomenon, GPS data, paleomaps, geographic profiles, the Seismic Explorer and Tectonic Explorer provide students with the tools needed to think sophisticatedly about how Earth has changed in the past and will continue to change in the future. Finally, a unique facet of the GEODE curriculum is the interactive teacher edition. Overlaid on the student curriculum, the teacher edition allows for overlays, pop-outs, and other ways of displaying content and pedagogical learning opportunities for teachers as they work through the curriculum.

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