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For the Shale Hills RET/REU Program, Summer 2015

Don Duggan-Haas

on 2 December 2016

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Why does a place look the way it does? How can we teach the reading of landscapes? Through two NSF-funded programs, “The Regional and Local (ReaL) Earth Inquiry Project” and “Improving Earth science education through teacher development in regional geology,” the Paleontological Research Institution has developed a rich set of resources and approaches to help educators teach about local geoscience in technology-rich, scientifically accurate and inquiry-based ways. The three-pronged approach: (1) develops a series of seven regional Teacher-Friendly Guides to Geoscience that collectively cover the entire United States; (2) develops, with our educator-partners, Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs) that are multi-media representations of actual field sites; and; (3) provides professional development (PD) programming that intertwines (1) and (2).
VFEs can serve in the place of actual fieldwork, but it is hoped that they serve more to catalyze and extend fieldwork than replace it. As framed in PRI’s work, VFE development requires actual fieldwork, and the VFE is a way to document that work and share it with others.

Resources include: (1) a set of regional Teacher-Friendly Guides; (2) a carefully crafted set of Bigger Ideas and Overarching Questions in Earth System Science, mapped onto idea sets like those in NGSS and the Climate Literacy Principles; (3) sets of questions that can be asked and productively investigated at any site, one set focused primarily upon the geosciences and a second focused upon ecology; (4) templates for Prezi and PowerPoint that help educators connect the question sets with local imagery and other data; (5) resources for connecting the field and the classroom via videolink in real time, and for connecting classrooms to one another, to facilitate students teaching one another about their local environments; (6) a still growing set of VFEs; and (7) tutorials for using Google Earth, Prezi, and other technologies in the service of making VFEs. Topics include using Google Earth to replicate the classic science education film Powers of Ten, but focused upon a local landmark rather than a Chicago park; how to use the VFE templates; how to mash up USGS digital geologic state maps with Google Earth’s profile tool, to show the interplay between bedrock geology and topography; and more.
The Teacher Friendly Guides
Virtual Fieldwork
What are Virtual Fieldwork Experiences?
Connecting Field to Classroom & Classroom to Classroom
Inexpensive tech makes it easy

A tablet or smartphone with a data plan and a field site with cell phone coverage makes field to classroom connections simple.
Don Duggan-Haas, PhD
Robert M. Ross, PhD
The Paleontological Research Institution
Ithaca, NY

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 0733303. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

A series of seven regional guides that collectively cover the entire US
Multimedia representations of field sites designed to promote meaningful, inquiry-based exploration;
Question driven:
Why does this place look the way it does?
Scaffolding for fieldwork;
Proxies for fieldwork;
Catalysts for fieldwork;
PD that leaves a trail;
VFEs document fieldwork in a way that facilitates future analysis, and the sharing of the experience with others.
Newly expanded and revised!
Bigger Ideas & Overarching Questions
Tutorials &
Favorite Tech Tools

Question Sets for Earth & Environmental Science
Phrased in such a way that they can be asked of any site;
Editable, so they can be customized to the specifics of your site.
Templates for Prezi and PowerPoint
Insert images, data, and resources related to your site.
A still growing set of VFEs
Visit virtualfieldwork.org; click the database link.
(video conferenceing)
Google’s Streetview App (formerly Photo Sphere) (Panoramas))
Newly expanded and revised!
Why does Dinosaur Ridge look the way it does?
A Virtual Fieldwork Experience
A product of PRI and its Museum of the Earth ReaL Earth Inquiry Project
Note that the footprint overlay is
not of the footprint underneath, though it is a nearby print.
The footprints are periodically darkened with charcoal.
Note that while there is a path through this Prezi, it is there to show a few highlights. You can move through the path by clicking the forward and reverse arrows, or by clicking your mouse. You can also simply explore by clicking on elements within the Prezi and you are encouraged to do so!
How have plants shaped the landscape?
How have animals generally, and humans in particular, changed the landscape?
On what scale?
See also ecosystem graphic organizer.
Do the rocks seem to form a sequence?
Where would you find the oldest rocks? Youngest rocks?
Does the rock record include evidence of ancient disturbances? If yes, describe.
Are there different kinds of rocks at different outcrops?
Sediments & Sedimentary Rocks
Is it clastic or organic/chemical?
If clastic, what is the grain size?
If organic, what minerals is it made out of?
Are there fossils or sedimentary structures?
Is it foliated or non-foliated?
What was the parent rock?
Did the rock form above or below ground?
Is it felsic or mafic?
Click the link at bottom of image to see in very high resolution.
Why do living things in the environment look the way they do?
How do living things shape the environment?
See embedded questions.
For all of these questions
How do you know? (What evidence is there?)
What does it tell you about past environments?
What does it imply about the future?
Describe how life shapes the land.
What are the pioneer plants?
How do pioneer plants impact soil formation?
How are animals shaping the land?
Are there invasive species? If yes, what are they and how are they changing the ecosystem?
Have disturbances played a role in the introduction of invasives? If yes, describe.
How are new invasives likely to change the ecosystem over then next century?
Describe the role of water in the ecosystem.
In what ways does water serve or disturb habitats?
How does life move, use and store water?
How has climate shaped the ecosystem?
How is the climate reflected by living things at the site?
Describe any microclimates and how they affect life.
Describe how sun and shadow affect life.
What is the role of fire, hurricanes or other climate-related disturbances in shaping this landscape?
Describe the role rocks and soil play in the ecosystem.
See also the geoscience graphic organizer.
Describe the types and arrangements of plants and animals and what they indicate about present and past environments.
How does life change the rocks and soil at the site?
How is life dependent upon the rocks and soil at the site?
Does the rock record include evidence of ancient disturbances? If yes, describe.
Why do living things in the environment look the way they do?
What life forms were the earliest to arrive?
Describe how different life forms are distributed throughout the field site.
What is the impact of invasive species and other disturbances?
See also: Describe how life shapes the land.
How have plants shaped the landscape?
How has the landscape shaped plants?
How do animals contribute to plant distribution?
What invasive species are currently present
How will incoming invasives shape this ecosystem over the next 100 years?
Why does Dinosaur Ridge look the way it does?
What effects have humans had on the ecosystem?
What resources do humans use from here?
How have humans changed the landscape?
On what scale?
This picture was taken just below Dinosaur Ridge.
Ancient Life
Looking down on the city of Denver from Dinosaur Ridge
This image contains four layers. Zoom in for more detail of the trace fossils.
The car key is included to show scale.
Look for higher res sign picture...
Describe the ecosystem.
Describe the types and arrangements of rocks and sediment and what they indicate about past environments.
What effects has life, including human life, had on the landscape?
For all of these questions
How do you know? (What evidence is there?)
What does it tell you about past environments?
What does it imply about the future?
Describe the shape of the land.
This picture was taken just below Dinosaur Ridge.
What effects has water had on life and the landscape?
What effect has the climate had on the life and landscape?
Why does Dinosaur Ridge look the way it does?
Are there mountains, valleys, or hills?
What are the valley shapes?
What can form valleys?
What can cause mountains or hills to form?
Are the mountains or hills young or old?
What role do tectonics play in shaping the site?
Is water depositing material, eroding material, or both?
Is the action of water primarily chemical, primarily physical, or both chemical and physical?
See the Gigapan here: http://gigapan.com/gigapans/145144
This is a screen capture of a Gigapan - a very high resolution image of Dinosaur Ridge. Click the link below the picture to see the full resolution image.
This image is more indicative of prehistoric than modern water.
√ Change modern analogous ripple marks photo.
Add link to Lon's book, noting that the free preview is for this area.

√ And add photo for the modern role of water at Dino Ridge. That might be the conglomerate at our last stop. http://bit.ly/GreenMountainConglomerate
Modern analog (from Google Image search)
These are asymmetrical, so use this pic paired with a different set of ripple marks.
Was the past climate different?
What factors may have been affected or caused by climate?
Selected Tech Tools
Resources for VFEs
See examples at:
What are the most important ideas to understand about the Earth system?
Seriously, stop and think about it.
And share.
That resonate with NGSS
New NGSS Resource:
"Shifting school programs to support the implementation of the NGSS will require many changes. The best response to this challenge would be to design brand new school science programs. This approach has the potential of developing a full school science program that most closely meets the vision described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, the innovations set forth in the NGSS, and the recommendations from the foundational research."
Pages 5-10 offers the best description of NGSS innovations that I've seen.
Template for Shale Hills VFE:
Innovation 1: K–12 science education reflects three-dimensional learning.
School programs must change:

providing discrete facts and concepts in science disciplines, with limited application of practice or the interconnected nature of the disciplines. Where crosscutting themes were included, they were implicit and not noticed or used by the student. Assessments within the programs exclusively addressed disciplinary concepts of science; neither the processes, inquiry, or SEPs nor the CCCs, unifying themes, or big ideas were included in the assessments.
providing learning experiences for students that blend multiple SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs — even those SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs not specified within the targeted performance expectations — with the goal that students are actively engaged in scientific processes to develop an understanding of each of the three dimensions. CCCs are included explicitly, and students learn to use them as tools to make sense of phenomena and make connections across disciplines. Assessments within the programs reflect each of the three distinct dimensions of science and their interconnectedness.
Innovation 2: Students engage in explaining phenomena and designing solutions.
School programs must change:

focusing on disconnected topics, with content treated as an end in itself.
focusing on engaging students with meaningful phenomena or problems that can be explained or solved through the application of SEPs, CCCs, and DCIs. Instructional units that focus on students explaining relevant phenomena can provide the motivation students need to become invested in their own learning.
Innovation 3: The NGSS incorporate engineering design and the nature of science as SEPs and CCCs.
School programs must change:
presenting engineering design and the nature of science as supplemental or as disconnected from science learning (e.g., design projects that do not require science knowledge to complete successfully), with neither included in assessments.
incorporating learning experiences that include the DCIs of engineering design as well as the SEPs and CCCs of both engineering and the nature of science, with both included in assessments. Both engineering design and the nature of science are taught in an integrated manner with science disciplines (e.g., design projects require science knowledge in order to develop a good solution; the engineering process contributes to building science knowledge).
Innovation 4. SEPs, DCIs, and CCCs build coherent learning progressions from kindergarten to grade 12.
School programs must change:
a curriculum that lacks coherence in knowledge and experiences; provides repetitive, discrete knowledge that students memorize at each grade level; and often misses essential knowledge that has to be filled at later grade levels.
providing learning experiences for students that develop a coherent progression of knowledge and skills from elementary through high school. The learning experiences focus on a smaller set of disciplinary concepts that build on what has been learned in previous grades and provide the foundation for learning at the next grade span as detailed in the NGSS learning progressions.
Innovation 5. The NGSS connect to English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.
School programs must change:
providing siloed science knowledge that students learn in isolation from reading, writing, and arithmetic — the historical “basic” knowledge.
providing science learning experiences for students that explicitly connect to mathematics and ELA learning in meaningful and substantive ways and that provide broad and deep conceptual understanding in all three subject areas.
About the NGSS
Three Dimensions:
It is more important to understand a few big ideas deeply than it is to know lots of facts.
Scientific and Engineering Practices;
Four Disciplinary Domains:
the physical sciences;
Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs)
Crosscutting Concepts; and;
engineering, technology and applications of science.
the Earth and space sciences; and;
the life sciences;
Big Conceptual Shifts:
Systems thinking is pervasive in the standards.
Three dimensions of equal importance, one of which is (almost) what we think of as traditional school science disciplines.
It takes years of coordinated effort to build deep understanding of big ideas.
A new discipline!
VFE Template: https://prezi.com/fbbgsrt_vvep/vfe-template-prezi-version-2/
Dinosaur Ridge VFE: http://bit.ly/DinoRidge

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