Geosciences in Alaska is a collaborative project that provided field and research opportunities for K12 teachers in Contra Costa County, California. Team members included representatives of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, the University of Alaska Museum, and the University of California Museum of Paleontology.
Teachers participated in an introductory local field trip and four weeks of field research in Alaska during the summer of 2002. Using an inquiry-based approach, the field and research experiences focused on geologic processes, evidence for tectonics, and paleontology. The comparison between two distinct yet similar geological settings, in Alaska and California, reinforced the major concepts learned and allowed for a better understanding of the Earth as a dynamic system.
Each of the teachers was given numerous resources to support their teaching. First and foremost, they had the experience of immersion into the science that they are teaching. However, they also came home with a bone box of fossils as well as supplementary materials that included books, CDs of images, maps, and student activities. These were shared with more than 1400 students throughout the district.
Sharing with Teachers:
Once the teachers returned to their classrooms in the fall, the team continued to work together to share what they learned with their colleagues. This included district workshops, formal and informal presentations, and providing access to bone boxes, slide sets, and other teaching resources. More than 150 teachers received information and/or access to resources through these presentations.
Geoscience Conceptual Framework:
As part of a longer range goal, the teachers also working on a teaching tool for the districta Geoscience Conceptual Framework (click to download pdf) for students in grades K12. The Framework is developed around five thematic areas of student learning: Earth as a system, Change, Conservation of natural resources, Earths history, and the Nature of Science.
Plans for 2004:
Building upon this project, many of the teachers continue to work with one another and with their University partners. Activities include:
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