Tags: NESTA, Earth Scientist, space science, activities, Earth science, self-directed learning, Independent learning, teacher, Journal of Continuing Education, Acid Thunder, Newark High School, natural wind tunnel, American Educational Research Association, Journal of Nursing Education, Jules Verne, Earth Exploration, seismic activity, Professor Jonathan Kahl, Michael Wysession, learning contracts, TEXAS National Earth Science Teachers Association, self-directed, Independent learning contracts, science classroom, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, student learning, students opportunities, learning activities, Earth and Space Science, NESTA Rock Raffle, cloud lightning, Ball lightning, Racetrack Playa, San Jose State University, AGI Earth Science World, El Taj, National Science Education Standards, National Science Education, online courses, meteorological analysis, Michael J. Smith, World Wide Weather, National Park Service, National Research Council, American Geophysical Union, NESTA Contacts, Mike Passow, playa surface, World-Wide Weather, weather forecasting, Mike Smith, Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Cara Albright
Volume XXI, Issue 1 Winter 2005
INSIDE THIS ISSUE... From the President From the Executive Advisor Acid Thunder and World-Wide Weather Web-Based Science Classes NESTA Membership Application Great Balls of Fire
Rock on the 'Racetrack' (dry lakebed) of Death Valley Image Credit: © Brian Law. Image Source: AGI Earth Science World ImageBank. The level surface of this parched basin provides the backdrop for one of Death Valley's most intriguing geological puzzles, the mysterious sliding rocks of Racetrack Playa. Scattered across the extraordinarily flat surface of Racetrack Playa, far from the edges of the surrounding mountains are boulders, some up to 320 kg (705 lb), and smaller pieces of rock. Stretching behind many of the stones you'll see grooved trails. Some are short, some long, some straight, some curvy. Clearly, these rocks must gouge furrows as they slide across the playa surface, yet no living person has ever witnessed these amazing rocks move! What makes these rocks skid as much as 880 meters (2890 ft.) across the flat playa surface? Recent scientific sleuthing provides some answers. Researchers noticed that although some trails change direction, most trend in a generally southwest to northeast direction. This is consistent with the direction of the prevailing winds. Could wind really provide the force that sets the largest Racetrack Playa boulders in motion? One recent study used a high-tech approach in an attempt to solve the mystery of the sliding rocks. Detailed measurements using Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments were made of over 160 sliding rocks and their trails. After analyzing their rock trail map, researchers found that the longest, straightest trails are concentrated in the southeastern part of Racetrack Playa. In this area, wind is channeled through a low point in the mountains, forming a natural wind tunnel. In the central part of the playa two natural wind tunnels focus their energy from different directions. It's in this area that rock trails are the most convoluted. So the evidence suggests that strong gusts of wind and swirling dust devils, in combination with a slick playa surface may set even the heaviest the rocks in motion. Off they go, scooting along downwind until friction slows them down and they come to rest. There the stones wait for the next time when slippery mud and wind spur them into action again. SOURCE:
Meeting the Geoscience Challenge in New York
Using Inquiry to Study Snow Days
Learning Contracts in Earth & Space Classrooms
Journal Article Submission Guidelines
Guided Learning Field Trip Registration Form
Earth & Space Resource Breakfast Registration
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As we approach the March 30 ­ April 3 NSTA Convention in Dallas, Texas, I urge you to take advantage of the NESTA events scheduled during that week. The NESTA Field Trip scheduled for Wednesday promises to be very exciting. Additionally, NESTA has Share-a-thons on Friday and Saturday, and an Earth Science Breakfast and Featured AGU guest speakers are lined up for Saturday. Saturday will also be the date of the NESTA Rock Raffle as well as NESTA's General Business Meeting.
For your future planning, mark your calendar and make plans to be a presenter in the NESTA Share-a-thons and a participant in the Rock Raffles scheduled at the following NSTA Conventions:
· Eastern Area
Hartford, Connecticut October 20-22, 2005
· Midwestern Area Chicago, IL
November 10-12, 2005
· Southern Area
Nashville, TN
December 1-3, 2005
· National
Anaheim, CA
April 6-9, 2006
If you'd like to be a presenter at any of these future meetings, please contact me.
Tom Ervin
[email protected]
NESTA Contacts President Tom Ervin [email protected] President Elect Thomas McGuire [email protected] Executive Advisor M. Frank Watt Ireton [email protected] Secretary Linda Selvig [email protected] Treasurer Bruce Hall [email protected] Retiring President Carl Katsu [email protected] Editor Michael J. Smith [email protected] Production Editor Cara Albright [email protected]
EDITOR'S CORNER The Winter 2005 Issue of The Earth Scientist features six articles designed to help you to plan Earth and space science instruction and engage your students in meaningful learning experiences. In their article "Acid Thunder and World Wide Weather", Professor Jonathan Kahl and colleagues describe several web-based earth science curriculum supplements involving meteorology and weather forecasting. Ever had difficulty squeezing an elective Earth science course into your school's schedule? Aaron Spurr, instructor at the Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls, Iowa, explains how he developed an online astronomy course. Want to bring a puzzle into your Earth and space science classroom? We offer a piece on a mysterious phenomenon known as ball lightning. According to lead author Jim Vavrek, "A complete explanation and understanding about ball lightning continues to elude scientists and may do so for decades." About 20% of the students in the United States who enroll in Earth and space science in high school take the course in New York, where teachers have worked very hard to preserve and expand Earth and space science instruction, as you'll learn in Mike Passow's article "Meeting the Geoscience Challenge in New York State." It seems only fitting that the winter issue of the journal should address snow days. Colleen Greenlaw-Whittel describes a "cool" activity on cloud seeding that really engaged her students. Finally, Dr. Robertta Barba of San Jose State University outlines an instructional strategy called "learning contracts", and describes the benefits of doing so. What a year it has been for Earth science--a great year join the NESTA team as editor of The Earth Scientist. Joining me as production editor is Cara Albright, technology instructor and yearbook editor at Newark High School in Newark, DElaware. We welcome your contributions and your suggestions for enhancing the journal. Michael J. Smith
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FROM THE EXECUTIVE ADVISOR Colleagues: Congratulations to Mike Smith, our new editor, who has set an ambitious timeline for getting The Earth Scientist back on track and with a regular publication schedule. We are excited about the partnerships we are forming for lead articles in the upcoming issues. Thus far we have the Incorporated Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) on tap for the Spring 2005 issue. Topics to be covered will include the EarthScope project that is under development and will be monitoring the North American continent for seismic activity. Additionally, IRIS is developing a robust education and outreach program to support the project and will provide some of the activities. The Summer 2005 issue will be published in cooperation with the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) and will highlight the ongoing deep sea drilling program and a new drilling ship being built by the Japanese Oceanographic Office. As with IRIS, JOI has strong education program to support the projects. We have had tentative discussion with the National Park Service to develop an issue around Earth science research conducted in the park system and related educational opportunities. Mike will be looking for classroom activities to support these and other issues. Write up that activity and send it in. Next on the horizon is the March 30­April 3 Dallas NSTA meeting. NESTA headquarters will be in the Adams Mark hotel. Like last year, a full suite of activities are planned for NESTA members and other Earth and space science teachers. Starting the convention on Wednesday will be a guided learning field trip to a dinosaur track site and some other fossil collecting sites (see registration form on page 30). We will be tracking a regressing sea sequence. NESTA Board business will be conducted on Thursday afternoon and the membership meeting will wrap up the Earth and Space Science Resource Day on Saturday following the rock raffle and social hour. Several organizations are joining us again this year for the resource day activities. The day will start with a breakfast with Seth Moran from the Cascade Volcano Observatory sponsored by the Geological Society of America Education Division. He will update us on the Mount St. Helens ongoing eruption and how the USGS is monitoring it (see page 31 for a registration form). Following the breakfast NESTA and NAGT will join forces to start the activity section with a Share-a-thon. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has worked with us again this year to sponsor a set of three outstanding science speakers to follow the Share-a-thon. First will be Michael Wysession, who is being sponsored by IRIS. His talk, entitled "A Modern Journey to the Center of Earth", is a far cry from Jules Verne's tale. Next will be Mark Leckie, a JOI cosponsored speaker, who will talk about how researchers are using ocean floor cores to better understand climate change. Wrapping up the science talks will be Cinzia Cervato, Executive Director of the CHRONOS Project, who will discuss how CHRONOS and the Earth Exploration Project are joining forces to develop activities to help the public's understanding of Earth systems and processes. Join us for some of the latest information on Earth systems research and bring a friend. On Friday, sandwiched between the Board meeting on Thursday and the resource day on Saturday ,there will be two more Share-a-thons and the Friends of Earth Science Reception. Once again, Sharon Stroud is heading up the Share-a-thons. Contact Sharon ([email protected]) if you are interested in presenting at one of these. It's not too early to start thinking about the fall (regional) NSTA meetings. A full schedule for Dallas and the fall meetings can be found in the most recent E-News and on the NESTA website. Your help is needed to make the national and other meetings a success. See you in Dallas. M. Frank Ireton, Ph.D.
We are excited about the partnerships we are forming for lead articles in future issues of The Earth Scientist.
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The Earth Scientist
ACID THUNDER AND WORLD WIDE WEATHER Jonathan D. W. Kahl1, Craig A. Berg,2 Mary C. Gruhl3 and Tom Tennessen4 1 Atmospheric Sciences Group, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2 Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 3 Department of biological sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 4 Glen Hills middle school, Glendale, Wisconsin [Corresponding author: J. Kahl, Atmospheric Sciences Group, Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, [email protected]] Abstract In this article we describe several earth science curriculum supplements involving meteorology and weather forecasting. These structured activities afford opportunities for students to collaboratively analyze scientific problems by formulating and testing hypotheses, use the internet to gather and analyze relevant scientific data, and prepare individual and group reports. One activity addresses acid rain damage to an important Mexican archaeological zone, thus presenting opportunities for interdisciplinary studies in both earth science and social studies. All supplements described are freely available on the web.
With Internetconnected computers having made their way into most schools and many individual classrooms, the rich opportunities of weather forecasting can be incorporated.
Meteorology and weather forecasting provide excellent opportunities for stimulating student interest in the Earth sciences. Structured exercises in these topics encourage students to formulate and test hypotheses, to use appropriate statistical techniques, to apply scientific principles to realworld environmental problems, and to utilize the large amounts of real-time Earth science data available on the Internet. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee we have developed several curriculum supplements to address these rich opportunities. The supplements are designed for use in middle- and highschool classrooms and are freely available on the web. In this article we describe these curriculum modules and invite teachers to adopt them in their classrooms. The Internet Weather Forecasting Activity ( Weather forecasting is an ideal application of the scientific method, since framing a hypothesis (i.e., making a forecast) requires analyzing data in light of previously-learned concepts, and the outcome of the forecast is never known in advance. Virtually all university programs in atmospheric science incorporate weather forecasting as an important component of the curriculum. With Internet-connected computers having made their way into most schools and many individual classrooms, the rich opportunities of weather forecasting can be incorporated into these settings as well. The Forecasting System The simple instructions on the Internet Weather Forecasting Activity web page direct students to examine current data, including text, maps and charts (Figure 1), and to make a structured weather forecast once per week for a location that changes weekly. The forecast consists of the following elements. · Maximum daily temperature · Minimum daily temperature · Wind speed at noon · Wind direction at noon Once a student types their forecast into the web-based entry form and clicks the `Submit' bar, an email message containing the student's name and forecast is automatically composed and sent to their teacher and cc'd to the submitting student. Justifications are also required for each of the four basic weather features. Teachers may examine the justifications to evaluate the thought process that produced the forecasts. The justifications provide a much more valuable means of assessment than the forecasts of the basic weather features themselves, since students cannot possibly be expected to be expert forecasters (after all,
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even professional meteorologists are often wrong!). Verifications, i.e., the weather that actually occurred at the forecast location, are posted to the web site each week.
Figure 1. A portion of the 'Virtual Weather Map Room' web site, a comprehensive collection of links to a wide variety of real-time, global weather data. Students participating in the Internet weather forecasting activity may use this resource as their source of weather information, or at the discretion of the teacher, may use alternate resources.
Evaluation of the Internet Weather Forecasting Activity In order to assess the success and efficacy of the activity, weekly forecasts were submitted by 160 students in a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee introductory meteorology class. Fifty percent of the students were freshmen and sophomores, and none were meteorology majors. The students' forecast justifications were assessed and assigned scores according to the system described in Table 1. Table 1. Examples of the subjective system used to assess forecast justifications. In this example the justifications refer to the maximum temperature forecast.
What it means
1 - no thought no relevant meteorological con- "because it's winter" cepts used in forecast justification "because it's in the north"
2 - some thought
student attempted to apply relevant concepts, but concepts were inappropriate for that day's weather
"because it's been warm for awhile, and it's about time for it to get cold" "because it might get cloudy"
3 - the right correct meteorological concepts
applied to forecast justification
"because the winds shifted" "because the wind is from the west, and Iowa had temperatures around 50oF yesterday"
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The results for one forecast justification element are shown in Figure 2. These data reflect the assessment of over 2,000 individual forecasts. The squares indicate weekly mean scores according to the scheme shown in Table 1, and the triangles show the standard deviation of each week's scores. The justification scores show that the quality of students' analytical thought processes improved over the course of the semester. The nearly constant standard deviation shows that the increasing scores reflected the improvement of the entire class. The results for the other forecast justification elements showed similar trends.
Figure 2. Assessment of 160 students' "Justification of the Wind Speed Forecast" throughout a one-semester University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee introductory meteorology course.
W ind Speed Justification Scores
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While investigating ... students are "sworn to secrecy" and promised protection from the EWFO (Evil Weather Forecasters Organization)
Weather Forecasting Webquests ( We have developed two additional curriculum supplements to challenge groups of students to find the best weather forecaster in their city. To accomplish this, students collect and analyze nextday high temperature forecasts made by different television stations, newspapers, and government sources. The three-week projects take the form of webquests, inquiry-oriented exercises focusing on analysis, synthesis and evaluation, for which the web is the primary information source (Dodge, 1995; 2003). As is common in webquests, substantial guidance is offered to students in Data collection, analysis and report preparation. Assessment rubrics are provided, and a `For Teachers' section in each webquest provides details on objectives, discussion ideas, and science education standards addressed. The first webquest, Weather Forecast Showdown (grades 5-9), begins with an ominous warning that some meteorologists are giving inaccurate forecasts to the public. Students are hired by the government to rate the weather forecasters in their town. As Time Goes By in Weather Forecasting (grades 5-12), a "top-secret document" entreating students to "combat the dangers of poor weather forecasting", is slightly more complex. As Time Goes By builds upon Showdown by noting that weather forecast accuracy deteriorates as forecasts are extended further into the future. While investigating this deterioration, students are "sworn to secrecy" and promised protection from the EWFO (Evil Weather Forecasters Organization). Structure of the Activities During the first two weeks the students collect high temperature forecast data from web sources (Figure 3). Sources can include forecasts made by television network affiliates, newspaper web sites, and government forecasting agencies (U.S. National Weather Service, Canadian Meteorological Service, etc.). Instructions and examples guide students through the processes of obtain-
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ing high temperature forecasts specific to their town and recording their data on speciallydesigned forms available on the web sites. The data collection process generally takes 5-10
Figure 3. Forecast recording schedule for As Time Goes By in Weather Forecasting. One-day, 2day, 3-day and 4day high temperature forecasts are recorded to assess the effects of lag time on forecaster performance.
minutes each day, and could be done at the beginning or end of a class period. In the third week students retrieve the actual high temperatures from web sources and calculate the statistics. Both webquests introduce several statistical concepts that are not traditionally part of the standard math or science curriculum (National Research Council, 1996). With explanations and illustrative examples, students are guided through the definitions of relative errors and absolute errors. Forecaster performance is evaluated in terms of accuracy and bias. Definitions of all technical terms are included in a glossary. Students prepare individual reports which list the forecasters studied, the web sites used, the average relative and absolute errors, bias and accuracy for each forecaster, the range of errors found, and a paragraph evaluating each forecaster's ability to accurately predict high temperatures. The individual report also includes one or more graphs of the student's results (Figure 4). Students also prepare group reports, containing a summary table of each group member's results, one or more graphs, conclusions and an accuracy ranking. The group report also issues awards to the best, worst, the most biased and the least
Figure 4. Sample graph for Weather Forecast Showdown.
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Figure 5. In Acid Thunder, background information on meteorology and acid rain is presented in a friendly and personal way.
Acid Thunder: Saving El Tajнn from Acid Rain ( This curriculum supplement (grades 5-12) involving meteorology and acid rain also uses the webquest format. This two-week activity, which we call Acid Thunder, follows the work of a group of scientists at the University of Mexico who are researching the damage that acid rain causes to the remains of ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Students learn about these scientists and their work, and the scientists present background information on acid rain chemistry, meteorology, measurement, and the effects of acidity on ecosystems and materials (Figure 5).
The project's `quest' is to become a meteorological detective and determine the source of the pollution which caused acid rain at El Tajнn
Acid Thunder focuses on the El Tajнn archaeological zone, an important monument site along Mexico's Gulf coast (the word "Tajнn" means thunderbolt in Totonaca, the indigenous language of that part of Mexico). This archaeological zone features the impressive `Pyramid of the Niches', and perhaps of more interest to students, many stone carvings depicting human sacrifice. The webquest also has interdisciplinary features and presents cultural information about the Totonac people, including a five-minute video of the `Flight of the Volodores', a spectacular acrobatic dance in which four Totonac men swing upside-down from a 100-foot pole. The website has also been translated into Spanish. The project's `quest' is to become a meteorological detective and determine the source of the pollution which caused acid rain at El Tajнn on one particular day. Working in groups, students use meteorological trajectory charts to determine the pathway of air as it moved toward El Tajнn on the day being studied. Infrared satellite images are used to determine cloud cover along the trajectory. Finally, population density maps are used to determine whether the air flowing toward El Tajнn passed over highly populated regions that could have contributed acid-causing pollution emissions to the air. The webquest guides the students through the interpretation and analysis of these charts (Figure 6). The final product is a report taking the form of a written paper, a computer presentation or a web page. The report includes a description of the meteorological and chemical processes in-
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volved in acid rain, the results of the meteorological analysis, a determination of what cities or areas contributed acid-causing pollution to El Tajнn's rain on the day being studied, and thoughts about what might be done to protect El Tajнn and other monuments and environments from acid rain. A rubric for assessment is also provided.
Figure 6. An analysis checklist included in the Acid Thunder webquest.
Acid Thunder provides an opportunity to integrate topics in earth science (acid rain) and social studies (ancient civilizations). The project involves research and reporting, web searching and data gathering, and interpretive reasoning. Acid Thunder and the other webquests specifically address a number of the National Science Education content and program standards (National Research Council, 1996), with details provided in the `For Teachers' section of each webquest. Participation The Internet Weather Forecasting Activity is currently being used by over 150 classrooms throughout North America. Teachers are invited to register their class(es) for the activity by visiting the Information for Teachers link on the web site. The webquests do not require registration and may be accessed and used at teachers' discretion. Additional information on these activities has been provided by Kahl (2001) and Kahl et al. (2004). We eagerly solicit feedback on these curriculum supplements. Please send any comments to Dr. Kahl at [email protected] References · Dodge, B., 1995. Some thoughts about WebQuests. Available online at · Dodge, B., 2003. "The WebQuest Portal." Available online at · Kahl, J.D.W., 2001. Meteorology online: Weather forecasting using the Internet. The Science Teacher 68, 22-25. · Kahl, J.D.W., K. Horwitz, C. Berg and M. Gruhl, 2004. The quest for the perfect weather forecaster. Science Scope 27, 24-27. · National Research Council, 1996. National Science Education Standards. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.
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DEVELOPING A WEB-BASED SCIENCE CLASS FOR A TRADITIONAL HIGH SCHOOL SETTING Aaron Spurr Instructor of Teaching and Science Education, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa, [email protected]
Since the content is delivered asynchronously (not at specific times), it is very appealing to the extremely busy teenagers at my school.
Like many Earth science teachers, I have spent the last several years gradually expanding and improving my use of the Internet in the classroom. I first used online resources as supplements to my in-class activities, capitalizing on the Internet's ability to provide up-to-date and accurate information. Later, I honed my Web page design skills and started writing my own activities that fit my curriculum and interests. One series of activities I developed is on the topic of Iowa geology. I have written webquests on NASA's future and stellar evolution, and I have developed activities on interpreting weather satellite images. All of these activities, like any good science activity, require my students to interpret information and formulate their own conclusions. My ongoing development of these online activities has culminated with the creation of the ultimate in Internet-based instruction--an online astronomy course for high school students. The purpose of this article is to describe some of the considerations teachers need to make before they undertake a project such as this. Even though writing and teaching an online course is challenging, it is very rewarding and positively positions a school for the ever-increasing inclusion of the Internet in education. Identifying Your Needs I taught astronomy at my previous teaching assignment, and many students at the school where I now teach have been asking me if I would offer it here as well. Our high school is quite small, and finding a place in the schedule for an additional elective is difficult. Rather than try to squeeze it in and leave many students unable to fit it into their schedules, I decided to create an online version of the class. Students can, if they wish, take this course in addition to their regular full academic load at school and complete all of the work at any time of day or night. They can also work on the course during a study hall. It is their choice. Since the content is delivered asynchronously (not at specific times), it is very appealing to the extremely busy teenagers at my school. Before any online class is developed, it is important to identify the need for such a course (Smith & Northrop, 1998). In my school, an online class in general Earth science would be a ridiculous idea since all students have ample opportunity to enroll in this class. However, there are other specialized Earth Science Subjects that would be quite appropriate as an online class, such as weather forecasting, for example. Since astronomy is a class that cannot be squeezed into our current schedule, it is definitely a good candidate for online delivery. Although there are many good ideas for Earth science courses that could be taught in an online environment, faculty need to be trained in order to effectively utilize the online teaching environment. Writing an online course is not the same as writing a traditional course. I have been a student in several online courses, and I have written and regularly teach a professional development class for secondary science teachers. It has been my experience that organizing the content of an online astronomy course requires more preparation time than a traditional astronomy class. Since I choose to do all of my own Web page design, I must devote additional time to ensure the content is delivered in an easy to follow format. This is a daunting proposition for most teachers, but extremely rewarding for those who wish to pursue it. The ongoing development of increasingly interactive and high quality Web-based activities is making science teaching easier in an online setting. Up until a couple of years ago, astronomy Web sites were basically collections of information and pictures--little more than online textbooks. Their quality has increased to the point where they are now valuable learning tools, able to become vital pieces of the online teacher's curriculum. I have found all of the Earth science disciplines benefit
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from a wealth of well-designed Web resources like the ones I use in astronomy. Organization is Key My online astronomy class is very structured, with weekly readings, assignments, and activities. A highly organized system is necessary, especially for classes taught to high school students. Students complete their assignments and submit them via e-mail or to the entire class via a discussion board, depending on the type of assignment. Activities include a mix of traditional and online exercises. Traditional activities range from observing the sun's motion across the sky, analyzing the spectra of various light sources, and building and using a simple telescope. Online activities help students understand the intricacies of orbital mechanics, a star's evolution from birth until death, or how each variable in the Drake Equation affects the probability that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the galaxy. When selecting or developing activities, remember that they must be carefully structured. Since the teacher is not right there to assist students, every conceivable difficulty they might have must be foreseen and accounted for in the instructions. Possibilities for Expansion Online courses are unique in that students can take them regardless of where they live. Indeed, this is usually the primary reason why online courses are written and why virtual high schools are created (Rutkowski, 1999). Astronomy is not offered in most high schools, at least in Iowa. Many of the existing online high school programs across the country are excellent, and I investigated my school's potential inclusion in one of them. However, like most of these programs, it requires a financial commitment that our school is not able to meet at this time. So, a committee at my school decided that we should pursue our own online high school program that could be offered to high school students in Iowa and across the nation. Our goal is to encourage other instructors at our school to develop online classes of their own. These courses would first be available to students at our school for testing. After each course has been modified and improved as a result of this in-house piloting, they would then be made available to students at other schools. Many logistical hurdles must be overcome before this can occur, but we hope to build a program that is not only pedagogically sound for students, but economically feasible for other schools to utilize. Online Science and Best Practice Online science classes cannot completely take the place of regular science classes, especially activity-based classes. However, it is possible to provide students with meaningful activities, provided they have careful directions. "Virtual" activities are another alternative. I use an interactive Web site that allows students to investigate the cause of the moon's phases, and has proven to be quite effective. The students who do the best at conducting activities in online classes are those who are capable of following written directions and who are self directed. Students who need continuous prodding to complete work are not good candidates for taking an online class. Live videoconferencing between the teacher and students can alleviate some of the problems associated with the lack of one-to-one contact, but some computers and Internet connections cannot handle the bandwidth requirements of such a medium. This makes the use of high bandwidth methods difficult to justify as a regular method for communicating with students. It is important to design an online class that will accommodate the lowest reasonable level of technological capability of the end user that, at this point in time, is still the modem connection. However, we are at a critical juncture in this respect. The U.S. Department of Education's National Educational Technology Plan (2000) identifies the quality of Internet access to homes, communities, and schools as critical. High bandwidth connectivity is becoming more readily available to the average user. A major problem with live videoconferencing and other one-on-one communication tools in the online environment is that it undermines the huge advantage of the asynchronous class, which allows teacher and students to complete their work when it is most convenient for them. To assist students who need to communicate with me interactively for some reason, I currently use instant messaging software to make myself available to them at specific times throughout the week. Technical Issues Urven, Yin, and Bak (1998) have identified a problem that has arisen for many who deliver online course content--difficulties with the course delivery system. Granted, many of these delivery
The ongoing development of increasingly interactive and high quality web-based activities is making science teaching easier in an online setting.
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To assist students who need to communicate with me interactively, I use instant messaging software to make myself available to them at specific times throughout the week.
systems have become more stable and sophisticated in the last couple of years. However, I have also seen the difficulties they can create for instructors and students alike. They usually have a high learning curve, and few teachers have any experience with online classes at all, let alone how to design and deliver them. Although these systems are useful, they are by no means required. The online course I currently teach does not utilize any delivery software, and I doubt my students have ever cared one way or the other. Since my high school course is the first online course hosted at my school, purchasing such a system is unrealistic. With careful Web page design and the installation of free e-mail and online discussion board software on existing Web servers, I have duplicated many of the features of a commercial course delivery system with no additional cost to the school. The only requirement is the time spent learning how to operate them. Advantages In summary, there are many advantages to having an online class as a part of an existing high school curriculum, including: · giving students the opportunity to take classes that cannot be offered in the regular curriculum. · the exploration of new educational practices that can be explored in a flexible environment where the student has more control over his or her learning. · easy integration of multimedia and interactive Web content. · exposing students to the world of online learning, which is becoming an increasingly popular method of delivering courses to adults. Challenges There are also many challenges to teaching an online high school class. · Students can feel isolated, especially those who do not actively participate in class discussions. · Students who are not "self starters" are not good candidates for online courses and can quickly fall behind if not carefully monitored. · Technical difficulties can still occur, even when course content has been carefully designed to include the lowest level of technology commonly used by students. · A lot of training is required before teachers can write and teach their own courses. Summary Teachers have experienced swings in the education "pendulum" since the dawn of public education. Web-delivered instruction has the potential to be a pendulum swing that redefines how students learn. It is conceivable that education could evolve to the point where physical classrooms are a thing of the past, giving way to on-demand learning where teachers serve as resources and guides and learning occurs at variable paces, depending on the learner's needs. The transformation to the teacher-as-guide rather than the teacher-as-the-source-of-knowledge has already taken root. Lecturing and the simple recall of information are becoming harder to justify as method of transferring and assessing knowledge. Students are becoming used to discovering the answers to problems on their own rather than having the answers given to them. Emerging technologies are providing tools students can use to conduct this learning from anywhere at any time. References · Department of Education (2000). e-Learning: Putting a World-Class Education at the Fingertips of All Children. The National Educational Technology Plan. December, Jessup, MD, ERIC Database #ED444604. · Rutkowski, K.M. (1999). Virtual Schools: Charting New Frontiers. Multimedia Schools, 6(1), 7479. · Smith, K. and Northrop, K. (1998). The CLASS Course Design Model for Web-Based Instruction. In Distance Learning '98: proceedings of the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning, August 5-7, Madison, WI, ERIC Database #ED422877. · Urven, L.E., Yin, L.R., and Bak, J.D. (1998). Integration of Live Video and WWW Delivery Systems to Teach University Level Science, Technology, and Society in High Schools. In Distance Learning '98: proceedings of the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning, August 5-7, Madison, WI, ERIC Database #ED422880.
Volume XXI, Issue 1 JOIN NESTA TODAY! Membership is for one, two, or three years. An expiration date will appear on your mailing label affixed to any NESTA mailings. Date.................................... Name............................................................................. Address.................................................................................... .................................................................................................. City........................................State.............Zip......................... Home #..................................................Work #.......................................................... Email......................................................................................... Position.................................................................................... Grade level(s).......................................................................... Subject area(s)........................................................................................................... Academic major ........................................................................................................ NESTA Dues Structure Check or money order only please _____ 1 yr $15 _____ 2 yr $28 _____ 3 yr $40 (Add $6 per year for foreign memberships). Mail to: NESTA Membership P.O. Box 2194 Liverpool, NY 13089-2194
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Oblique aerial view of fountaining and lava flow from Pu'u Oo in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Image Credit: Courtesy USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Source: AGI Earth Science World ImageBank.
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The Earth Scientist GREAT BALLS OF FIRE R. James Vavrek1, Ronald L. Holle2,Mary Ann Cooper3, Jim Allsopp4 1 Science Teacher, Henry F. Eggers School, Hammond, Indiana 2 Research Meteorologist, Oro Valley, Arizona 3 Associate Professor, Departments of Emergency Medicine and Bioengineering, Director, Lightning Injury Research Program, University of Illinois at Chicago 4 Warning Coordination Meteorologist, NOAA, National Weather Service, Romeoville, Illinois
In the United States there are about 120 million flashes of lightning annually with over 20 million cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning strikes.
Kentucky, early 1980's: A quick and violent thunderstorm arose in Kentucky, causing the skies to darken. Several farmers were gathered at an informal cattle show in an open field surrounded by trees. One man was standing near a tree by the rear of a cow. Lightning appeared to hit a tree and observers reported an orange ball about the size of a soft ball came down the tree and hit the first man. Different observers report that the ball of light either came out of this man's mouth or chest, rolled onto the cows back and forward to her head where another man was holding the cow's halter. Both the men and cow had cardiac arrests. Resuscitation was unsuccessful with the first man. Although the second man who had been holding the cow's halter regained a pulse, he was pronounced dead two days later after he failed to have an adequate blood pressure or resume spontaneous breathing. Two other people survived but suffered confusion and short-term amnesia afterwards. One of the two survivors said they saw `a ball of white fire on the first man's chest, reached over to slap it out but it was not hot.' The dead man's clothes showed a distinct circle of color about 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in diameter on his under-shirt. Tiny pieces of skin were also found stuck to the inside of the under-shirt. The metal zipper and other articles of the man's clothing showed typical lightning arcing marks. Introduction Lightning has probably existed since early in the Earth's formation. Throughout human history, it has influenced cultures, religions, and myths. The term "bolt" has occasionally been used in reference to describe lightning, but is an undefined term. The words flash, stroke, or channel, are better suited to its description. In the United States there are about 120 million flashes of lightning annually with over 20 million cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning strikes. In contrast, ball lightning is in a category by itself because it does not look or act, like any other form of lightning. Instead, it appears as a mysterious mobile, glowing or sparkling, sphere. There have been numerous reports of ball lightning dating as far back as the Middle Ages. Sightings are often accompanied by sound, odor, and sometimes, permanent material damage. However, despite many theories, there is no satisfactory explanation for these ghostly glowing apparitions nor have they been reproduced under scientific laboratory conditions. Many controversies abound about this phenomenon, making it the most puzzling, unusual, and unpredictable form of lightning in existence.
This paper will provide information about this controversial phenomenon. It will describe ball lightning's known characteristics, sightings, occurrence, origin, appearance, life span, motion, decay, presents theories about its existence, and probable causes. It will also act as a resource for science teachers, students, and other interested individuals.
Although the majority of reports about ball lightning occur during thunderstorms, other
electrical discharges have been implicated. Ball lightning typically occurs at or near a
lightning strike point immediately after a cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flash. It may
Multiple cloud-to-ground and cloud-to- hang in mid-air, rotate or fall from the base of clouds toward the ground. It may appear cloud lightning strokes during night- as a sphere and show motion. Seldom has ball lightning been described as rising.
time. Observed during night-time thunderstorm. Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library/ NSSL
Ball lightning has often been confused with St. Elmo's fire. The latter is a faint bluish or greenish glow (corona-like light) observed around objects protruding from the surface of the Earth. It can appear around trees, power or communication lines, ship masts, on the
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leading edge of an aircraft's front cockpit windows, and on the leading edge of wings on an airplane. There are accounts of ball lightning occurring within enclosed metal objects such as airplanes in flight and in submarines. One of the discriminating differences between ball lightning and St Elmo's fire is the mobility and duration of the event. St. Elmo's fire remains attached to the conductor and have a longer duration whereas ball lightning tends to travel, bounce around and often, end with an explosion or `pop'. 1963: Ball lightning is reported to have entered an Eastern Airlines flight enroute from New York City to Washington, D.C., during an intense electrical thunderstorm. It traveled down and along the center aisle the entire length of the airplane, appeared bluewhite, then disappearing silently at the rear of the plane. It did not radiate any sensation of heat, or noticeable hissing sound. Origin Ball lightning frequently has its origin next to, attached to, or protruding from objects that have been struck. These can be trees, poles, or metallic objects such as wire fences, telephone lines, or moving along those objects. There are eyewitness claims of ball lightning entering homes via the telephone or electrical outlets, passing through window screens, windows, and even down chimneys. 1918: In Black Top, Ohio, lightning struck a tree during a thunderstorm, and ball lightning was seen bouncing onto the ground and exploding soon after. Appearance and Duration Ball lightning typically assumes a spherical shape and lasts 10 seconds or less, but a small percentage of incidents lasts over one minute. The diameter ranges from one half inch (1.3 cm) to many feet/meters. The average size is 4 to 8 inches (10-20 cm), the size of an orange or grapefruit. It has also been seen as small as the size of a pea to as large as a bus. Descriptions indicate ball lightning maintains a constant brightness and size after formation. Not exceptionally bright, it can be clearly seen in daylight. The most common colors are red, orange, and yellow, but other colors occur. 1977: In Wales, England, a brilliant yellow-green transparent ball bounced down a hillside. It lasted for about 3 seconds and was the size of a bus. There is speculation that ball lightning may happen more often than previously thought. A brilliant cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flash may temporarily affect a person's vision consequently blinding the witness to the appearance of a short-lived ball lightning event. An estimated 5-10% of the population is said to have seen ball lightning and those who have seen it say they will never forget it. Motion Ball lightning is usually reported to move horizontally at a speed of a few yards or meters per second. Other descriptions state that it remains motionless in mid-air or descends from the base of clouds towards the ground. Rarely does ball lightning rise, so the idea that ball lightning is a sphere of hot rising air is dismissed. Many reports have included seeing rotation or spinning and sometimes bouncing on or along the ground. Heat-Sound-Odor Although there have been accounts of structures burned and wires melting, ball lightning is rarely reported to produce the sensation of heat to the human skin. There are also reports of a `hissing' sound coming from ball lightning. A large number of reports indicate there is distinct foul, repugnant odor resembling burning sulfur or the smell of rotten eggs associated with its appearance.
An estimated 510% of the population is said to have seen ball lightning and those who have seen it say they will never forget it.
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The Earth Scientist
During a thunderstorm, a large, red-hot ball of fire fell from the sky striking a house, cutting the telephone wire, burning the window frame, and then burying itself in a tub of water. The water boiled for several minutes, then cooled enough for searching, but nothing was found.
1996: During a thunderstorm, a large, red-hot ball of fire fell from the sky striking a house, cutting the telephone wire, burning the window frame, and then burying itself in a tub of water. The water boiled for several minutes, then cooled enough for searching, but nothing was found. Decay Ball lightning can decay either loudly or silently. The majority of the time it decays rapidly by exploding and producing a loud noise. Silent decay can be either rapid or slow. Whichever mode occurs, it is often reported that a mist or residue remains for a short period of time. Occasionally, ball lightning has been seen to break into two or more smaller balls before decaying. Theories At present, no theory adequately explains ball lightning. It cannot be tested or reproduced under controlled laboratory conditions and does not follow the known laws of physics. Purported photographs of ball lightning are predominantly time-exposed snapshots lasting seconds and appearing as a meandering ribbon of light. This makes the photograph questionable at best because of the lack of clarity and detail. This meandering light could easily be confused with automobile headlight movement, other moving lights, or moving the camera. Some of the finest minds in physics and related fields have attempted to explain it without success. No theory can completely explain the high degree of mobility, consistency of light output, or lack of rising motion. The majority of theories have regarded ball lightning as some kind of hot plasma gas of electrons or positively charged atomic or molecular ions in an electrical discharge. This is understandable because ball lightning has predominantly been associated with thunderstorms whose lightning ionizes the air, creating columns of plasma along their path. One scientist suggested it was a kind of microwave laser where a wave-like excitation of air keeps its shape like a tidal bore in a river. Another recent theory explains ball lightning as an aerosol-related phenomenon. All theories presented to date fall into two categories: those in which the energy source comes from within the ball (internal) and sustains the globe and those with the energy source from outside the ball (external). Theories for internal powered ball lightning include these six subclasses: 1. It is a ball of gas or air burning slowly, 2. The sphere contains heated air or various impurities, 3. It is a very high density ionized gas (plasma), 4. The ball is a closed-loop current flow in its own magnetic field. 5. It is an air vortex containing luminous gases, forming the sphere. 6. It is a high frequency electromagnetic field in a thin spherical sheet of ionized air. One of the latest speculations advanced suggested that ball lightning might be nothing more than a burning orb of silicon, generated by lightning striking the ground and vaporizing minerals. This theory hypothesized that ball lightning may involve more chemistry than physics. When lightning strikes the ground, the mineral grains in the soil are changed into tiny particles of silicon and compounds with oxygen and carbon. These tiny particles were predicted to link into chains forming filamentary networks, like sugar strands of candyfloss. The filaments could then form a light, fluffy ball-shape, which could be borne aloft by air currents. These tiny particles would be very reactive and slowly burn up in the air, emitting light in the process. Calculations for duration, brightness and color of the glow could match those for ball lightning. When this theory was tested, it failed and was unable to generate ball lightning. This theory was also flawed because it did not address ball lightning falling from the base of clouds, inside airplanes and submarines where there is no ground/silicon. While most scientists agree that ball lightning exists, the cause remains highly controversial. The mystery continues and is as elusive as ever.
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Conclusions Some people firmly believe that ball lightning does not exist and is caused by an overactive imagination or optical illusion. As proof they claim that there has not been a photograph, movie or video taken of the phenomena. Photographs that purportedly show ball lightning are questionable. Yet it would be very difficult to deny the existence of ball lightning. Too many reliable people have documented it over the centuries. One of the difficulties in finding solutions to ball lightning formation is its inconsistency. It has occurred in many settings and displayed a wide range of characteristics. Ball lightning has been seen falling from clouds, in submarines, in flying aircraft, bouncing along the ground, floating in mid-air, appearing small or large, passing through solid objects, splitting into two, having different colors, and lasting a few seconds to over a minute. Another problem is that scientists are not able to reproduce it in laboratory. Presently, it appears these orbs will remain a mystery. Some of the most creative minds in physics and chemistry have attempted to explain ball lightning. Nature seldom gives up its secrets easily and ball lightning continues to generate attention, curiosity, and controversy. A complete explanation and understanding about ball lightning continues to elude scientists and may do so for decades. Acknowledgements We greatly appreciate the following individual who offered her assistance in completing this paper: Ms Jennifer J. Vavrek, Math Teacher, Crete/Monee Middle School, Crete, IL. References · Abrahamson, J., 2002: Ball lightning from atmospheric discharges via metal nanosphere oxidation: From soils, wood or metals, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, A360 (Jan. 15): 61-88. · Cooper, M.A., 1995: Myths, miracles, and mirages, Seminars in Neurology, Vol. 15, No. 4, 358-361. · Holle, R.L., R.E. Lopez, K.W. Howard, R.J. Vavrek, and J. Allsopp, 1995: Lightning Hazard Education. The Earth Scientist, 12 (4), 19-23. · Holle, R.L., R.E. Lopez, R.J. Vavrek, and J. Allsopp, 1997: Newspaper accounts of lightning from 1891-1895. The Earth Scientist, 14 (3), 20-22. · Hubler, G.K., 2000: Fluff balls of fire. Nature 403 (Feb. 3): 487-488. · Uman, M.A., 1986. All About Lightning. Dover Publication, 167 pp. · Uman, M.A., 1984. Lightning. Dover Publication, 298 pp. · Vavrek, R.J., R.L. Holle, and J. Allsopp, 1993: Flash to bang. The Earth Scientist, 10, 3-8.
A complete explanation and understanding about ball lightning continues to elude scientists and may do so for decades.
Time-lapse photography captures multiple cloud-to-ground lightning strokes during a night-time thunderstorm. Image Credit: C. Clark: NOAA Photo Library/NSSL. Source: AGI Earth Science World ImageBank.
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The Earth Scientist
MEETING THE GEOSCIENCE CHALLENGE IN NEW YORK STATE Michael J. Passow Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY, and White Plains Middle School, 128 Grandview Ave, White Plains, NY 10605 [email protected]
A survey in 2000 by the Council of Chief State School Officers found 170,383 students in grade 9 ­ 12 Earth Science classes in New York, approximately 22% of the 774,469 students in the nation studying the subject.
Magnitude of Earth Science Education in New York State In one form or another, Earth Science concepts have been offered in New York State K ­ 12 schools for more than a century. The first high school examinations were administered in 1878 (1.) Examinations in both physical geography and geology were offered in November, February, and June beginning in 1879. A Geology examination offered in 1889 consisted of 13 essay questions (2.) Examples include: "1. Define dike, concretion, synclinal strata, strike, formation, outcrop"; "5. Describe a geological effect which you have observed in your own neighborhood produced by water; the wind; alternate freezing and thawing"; and "10. To what age do the Salina rocks belong? Where are they found in New York State?" In 1958, the New York State Education Department (SED) began offering classroom teachers who were not members of the examination committees to submit objective questions for Regents examinations (1). During the 1990s, curricula and assessments were developed for program and student assessment at the K-4 and 5 ­ 8 levels. Although the format of the exam has changed through the years, Earth Science has continued to be an integral part of elementary, intermediate, and high school science programs. At the latter, Earth Science courses attract large enrollments. A survey in 2000 by the Council of Chief State School Officers found 170,383 students in grade 9 ­ 12 Earth Science classes in New York, approximately 22% of the 774,469 students in the nation studying the subject (3.) The total number of high school students in New York State was third in the nation, behind only California and Texas; however, the state with the next highest percentage taking Earth Science was Idaho, with 14%. The national percentage studying high school Earth Science was 6%. The same survey identified 3,392 Earth Science teachers in grades 9 ­ 12 (4.) This was 24% of the 14,057 nationally, by far the largest in the nation, and far more than the next highest, 795 in North Carolina. However, several surveys estimate that more than 30% of certified Earth Science teachers are more than 50 years old and will retire within the next decade, with far fewer new teachers coming in to replace them. One reason for such high numbers of Earth Science classes are SED requirements. To earn a high school diploma under current regulations, a student must pass three years of science, two of which must be based on the SED Core Curricula, and pass at least one Regents exam (5). State core curricula for grades K ­ 4 and 5 ­ 8 require Earth Science instruction in advance of the tests administered to 4th and 8th graders (6.) Schools may develop their own curriculum and grade-level approach for teaching the State Core Concepts, but the requirements mean that all students in these levels receive some instruction during these years. Annual Reports provide some indicate of the prevalence of Earth Science education in state schools, including comparisons with biology, chemistry, physics, and general science programs (7.) Significant concerns have developed in recent years about disparities in resources and teacher qualifications among urban, suburban, and rural districts, especially between low-need and high-need systems (8.) A recent report issued by the New York City Council also raises many concerns about the state of science education, include Earth Science, within the New York City public schools (9). These issues will be addressed below. Development of the State Standards and High School Core Concepts Although New York State had a long history of teaching Earth science before the expansion of interest that followed Sputnik, the SED was influenced by the Earth Science Curriculum Pro-
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ject, which revolutionized instruction when it was introduced in the 1960s (10.) The SED produced an extensively revised syllabus in 1970 (11.) In addition to a comprehensive outline of what should be included in an Earth Science course, SED provided an accompanying document suggesting investigations and other resources (12.) These documents were important parts of the training of teachers and students for two decades. Teachers often taught courses based on the sequence of the "Units" in this syllabus. Item-writers used this document to create part 1 of the Regents Earth Science exam, used to evaluate student progress and award of a unit of graduation credit. Ninety percent was earned through the written portion, which included 55 mandatory multiple-choice questions and thirty-five more obtained by selecting seven out of ten groups of five questions on various topics. The remaining ten points were earned with a hands-on "performance exam." Earth Science was the only Science Regents exam to include a performance component, something that is still not fully integrated into the State's physics, chemistry, biology ("Living Environment,) and general science exams. In the mid-1980s, the SED adopted the "Regents Action Plan," which permitted schools to offer the high school-level course to accelerated 8th graders. This option significantly increased the number of students enrolled in courses leading to the Regents Earth Science exam, as many school introduced such enrichment to challenge more capable students. The result for many schools was that the highest-achieving students often completed coursework and passed four Regents exams in Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. By the early 1990s, a group of experienced teachers convinced the SED to allow them to create an updated syllabus. The ESPRIT (Earth Science Program Revision Improvement Team) syllabus (13), or "Program Modification" version, was introduced in selected schools in 1993, and gained wider acceptance over the next few years. One innovation was the opportunity to study six optional topics in more detail. These included rocks and minerals, plate tectonics, glacial geology, oceanography, weather and climate, and astronomy. The "Pro-Mod" exam reduced the number of mandatory multiple-choice choice to 40, allowed for 10 points from among the optional topics, and added "constructed-response" questions that required higherorder thinking skills. The performance test was revised to include six tasks: mineral identification, rock identification, modeling the sun's path, calculating volume from density and mass measurements, making settling time measurements of beads in a liquid column, and graphing these data with an interpolation. Used in conjunction with the 1970 test, this portion of the test remained at ten percent, but used with the Pro-Mod exam, it was worth fifteen percent. SED has posted archived versions of these exams at . Altogether, in 2000, more than 140,000 students were enrolled in Regents Earth Science courses (14.) An intensive debate began on the national level during the Reagan administration over the effectiveness of education, stimulating the National Academy of Sciences to begin development of National Science Education Standards (15.) This document was the first to provide Earth and Space Science on an equal footing with the "traditional" high school biologychemistry-physics sequence. Most states also initiated creation of their own Standards. The New York State Board of Regents adopted 27 "learning standards" (16) to serve as overarching statements of what all students should know and be able to do. The seven pertaining to Mathematics, Science, and Technology can be found at . Of particular interest is MST Standard 4: Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principle, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science. Under this construction, Earth Science was placed as one of the three "physical science" courses, along with chemistry and physics.
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The Earth Scientist In 2001, driven by these Standards, SED replaced both the 1970 and Pro-Mod syllabi with a new "Physical Setting/Earth Science" Core Curriculum (17.) On-line versions of this document is available at The performance component of the Regents exam remained the same, but the written test now includes four sections. Part A includes 40 multiplechoice questions about any of the "Major Understandings" in the pertinent "Key Ideas" of the Standard. Part B-1 consists of groups of multiple-choice questions based on a specific stimulus or central theme (diagram, chart, reading passage, etc.) Part B-2 presents constructed-response questions based on a theme or stimulus. Part C includes more extended responses based on a stimulus or theme and requiring higher level reasoning skills, such as analyzing or synthesizing material. Examples of previous exams and a proposed new version of the "performance test" section of the high school test are available at Development of the Elementary and intermediate level Core Curricula Simultaneously, SED developed new Core Curricula for Elementary Level (Grades K ­ 4) and Intermediate Level (grades 5 ­ 8) science programs to reflect the MST Learning Standards (18, 19). A revised version of the "4th grade science test" was created, shifting emphasis from evaluating the school's program to individual student progress. An Intermediate Level Science exam was created for use in grade 8. This plays a significant role in placement for high school courses. The format of this exam is similar to that of the high school test--multiple-choice and constructed response--but also includes questions based on pertinent life and physical science Core Concepts. There has been considerable debate about whether 8th graders who take the Regents exam should also be required to take this test. Although the option to exempt them has been offered by SED to school principals for several years, new "school report cards" produced under the federal "No Child Left Behind" requirements may remove this option and force all accelerated students to undergo "double-testing." One significant impact of these exams is that all New York State students receive some exposure to Earth Science concepts during grades K ­ 8, which is not the case in states lacking such curricular guides or assessments. Support Networks for NYS Teachers Supporting classroom teachers are mentoring networks and an extensive list-server. As part of the SED school reform program of the early 1990s, networks of mentoring teachers were established in many of the BOCES (Board of Cooperating Educational Systems) districts that serve as regional links between the SED and local educational authorities. However, once funding sources ended, these networks have mainly continued through the volunteer efforts of the mentors. In recent years, with a variety of contributions from institutions such as Alfred University for facilities and private companies, plus willingness to pay for their own costs, some mentors have continued to meet for summer update meetings. Better supported is the network of "Earth Science Subject Area Representatives" in all Sections of the Science Teachers Association of New York State (STANYS). Led by the STANYS Director-at-Large for Earth Science, these teachers provide workshops and other support within their regions, as well as at the annual statewide conference. In recent years, the SARs have provided a "Sunday Showcase" that includes a "Share-a-Thon" in which attendees can obtain classroom-ready materials from dozens at colleagues at tables set up in a large room, and a "rock swap" to obtain instructional samples from across the state. The annual "Earth Science Breakfast" held on one morning of the state conference is the largest annual gathering of Earth Science teachers. Almost 200 meet to hear a keynote speaker, collect materials, renew memberships in the National Earth Science Teachers Association, and network with colleagues. One of the most effective methods for disseminating information is the list-server operated through SUNY-Oneonta (20), now serving hundreds of subscribers (including some from other states and countries.) Messages posted by teachers present information, lively exchanges, and occasionally humorous anecdotes on a variety of topics. A description of this system is available at (21.)
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The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and Teachers College, Columbia University sponsor the "Earth2Class Workshops for Teachers" (22). These monthly programs bring classroom teachers together with research scientists to learn about cuttingedge investigations and develop curricular materials based on the talks. LDEO hosted the 1st New York State Earth Science Teachers Conference in August 2004 (23.) Support from the National Science Foundation Geoscience Education division and other resources will enable organization of future Conferences at LDEO. Planning is underway for the 2nd Conference in July 2005. Fourteen of the most active contributors to the list-server were invited to LDEO in advance of the 1st Conference, and received training as "DLESE Ambassadors." They join others who have received training at NSTA and other conferences to provide programs for teachers in their local areas that introduce teachers to resources available through DLESE. While some are already mentors or SARs, some are new to such peer-training programs, and form the basis for expanding the corps of master-teachers providing leadership across New York State. NYS teachers also obtain considerable support by participating in professional societies. For example, for more than a decade NYS teachers have participated in many projects developed by the American Meteorological Society, ranging from stand-alone workshops on various weather themes conducted at the annual STANYS Conference to courses offered through DataStreme Atmosphere (weather education), DataStreme Ocean (marine science), and "Water in the Earth Systems" (24.) Teachers can earn 3 graduate credits for completion of these programs. During the past decade, the NAGT-Eastern Section has conducted its annual Spring Meeting four times at New York State institutions, and in 2004 just outside the state border in Newark, NJ. Classroom teachers join university colleagues and students at the annual field conferences sponsored by the New York State Geological Association (25.) A number of other organizations, such as the New York State Marine Education Association (26), also provide programs support to classroom teachers and students. New York State educators and their students also benefit from the resources available in museums and nature centers. Informal educational opportunities range from the worldfamous American Museum of Natural History and Rose Center Planetarium in New York City to regional museums and community-based facilities. The New York State Museum and he New York State Geological Survey provide exhibits, publications, and other educational support. A recent addition which is already having widespread influence is the Paleontological Research Institute. State colleges and private institutions work extensively with school districts to meet the demands for new Earth Science teachers and to enhance professional development of current teachers. Several campuses of the State and City Universities of New York train education and geology majors who, along with students from many independent colleges, find employment in positions. Recreational-oriented groups provide educational programs that utilize the geological resources of the state, such as Adirondack Mountain Club programs in the High Peaks region. Motivated teachers in some school districts enrich the curriculum with field experiences to the state mountains, parks, and waterways. Some even take students to special locations, such as rock and fossil quarries. Continuing Questions Despite this long pattern of successes, there remain several unanswered questions. One is, "Why, despite such wide exposure to geoscience, do few students select this area as a potential college major?" Does the fact that many students study Earth Science earlier in
New York State educators and their students also benefit from the resources available in museums and nature centers.
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This interest in and commitment to share Earth Science topics on the part of the teachers comes through strongly to their students, administrators, families, and the general community.
their high school sequence explain why many fewer choose to start college as geoscience majors? Or might the way in which the course is taught play a role, with an emphasis on passing the state exam rather than on concepts that make geoscience interesting? Another significant question arises from the fact pointed out earlier in connection with the large number of teachers in New York. Many are now 50 years of age or older--where will their highly-qualified replacements be found? New York State educators also wrestle with questions common to colleagues everywhere, such as, "What are effective ways of helping all students learn, including those with special needs?" Another is, "How can all classrooms obtain adequate resources to provide suitable hands-on and technology-based instructional programs?" The current SED requirement that all students pass at least one Regents exam to graduate from high school has set off many discussions in Districts about whether to offer 9th graders the "Physical Setting: Earth Science" or "Living Environment" (biology) curriculum. Results from recent administrations of the state assessment tests seem to indicate that students may receive passing scores on these scaled exams with fewer correct answers on the Living Environment exam. This has led some Districts to eliminate or postpone Earth Science courses until later grades, on the pretext of trying to get as many of their students as possible through the SED barriers to graduation. Some have also instituted changes simply because they cannot find enough certified Earth Science teachers, but can more easily find certified biology instructors. There are no ready answers to these questions, but many New York State teachers continue to seek for solutions. Conclusions What are some of the reasons for the relative success of Earth Science education in New York State? Foremost, teachers and students accept and continue the long history of support for the subject. This interest in and commitment to share Earth Science topics on the part of the teachers comes through strongly to their students, administrators, families, and the general community. Unlike in some states, Earth Science is accepted as a valuable part of a comprehensive science program beginning at the early elementary level through to high school. The long pattern of leadership in establishing curricula and developing assessments contributes to this acceptance. Even through changes in financial and staffing support, dedication to keeping Earth Science as an integral part of state science programs has been maintained. A major factor has been the proactive role taken by classroom educators and state organizations. STANYS, led by its Earth Science Director-at-Large and Subject Area Representatives, have maintained steady relationships with SED to retain the gains of past decades. Even with the uncertainties mentioned above, teachers and students should continue to meet the challenges to Earth Science education in New York State successfully. Author's Note This paper was originally conceived as a poster presentation at the Combined SoutheastNortheast Sections Annual Meeting, Tysons Corner, VA, March 2004 (26.) Editor's Note I am one of hundreds of Earth science teachers who have benefited from the active discussion of Earth science topics that occurs on ESPRIT-L, a listserv that focuses on teaching New York's Physical Setting: Earth Science Core Curriculum. To join this list, operated through SUNY Oneonta, visit . References 1. History of the Regents Examinations 1865 ­ 1987. 2. "University of the State of New York 83rd Academic Examination--Geology, Friday, March 8, 1889, 1:30 ­ 4 P.M" (pdf copy provided by Thomas McGuire
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3. Council of Chief State School Officers, State Indicators of Science and Mathematic Education 2001, , Tables 1.6 and 1.7 4. Council of Chief State School Officers, State Indicators of Science and Mathematic Education 2001, , Table 2.5 5. High school graduation requirements . 6. Information concerning administering the grade 4 and 8 science assessments . 7. NYSED, 2001, A Report to the Governor and the Legislature on the Educational Status of the State's Schools: Submitted June 2001. . 8. NYSED, 2004, "New York: The State of Learning--A Report to the Governor and Legislature on the Educational Status of the State's Schools" 9. Council of the City of New York, 2004, "Lost in Space: Science Education in the New York City Public Schools." . 10. Earth Science Curriculum Project, 1967, Investigating the Earth. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Also, Teacher's Guide, Parts 1 and 2, and Laboratory Supplement Book. 11. University of the State of New York, 1970, Earth Science Syllabus: State Education Department, Bureau of Secondary Curriculum Development, Albany, New York, 50p. 12. University of the State of New York, 1970, Earth Science Supplement to the Syllabus, Special Edition, Part 1 - Topics 1-4, Part 2 - Topics 5-8, and Part 3 - Topics 9-14: State Education Department, Bureau of Secondary Curriculum Development, Albany, New York 13. New York State E.S.P.R.I.T. Earth Science Program Modification Syllabus, Gold Edition, August, 1993 14. NYSED, 2001, A Report to the Governor and the Legislature on the Educational Status of the State's Schools: Submitted June 2001.. 15. National Research Council, 1996, National Science Education Standards. National Academy Press. . 16. New York State Education Department (NYSED), 1996, Learning Standards for Mathematics, Science, and Technology. . 17. NYSED, 2000a, Physical Setting/Earth Science Core Curriculum. . 18. NYSED, 2000c, Elementary Science Core Curriculum, Grades K ­ 4. . 19. NYSED, 2000b, Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum Grades 5 ­ 8. . 20. Oneonta Mentor Network Initiative Earth Science list-serve. . 21. Kluge, S. and J. R. Ebert, 2003, OMNI Listserv Provides Peer-Driven Professional Development for New York Earth Science Teachers. . 22. Earth2Class Workshops for Teachers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, . 23. American Meteorological Society Education Initiatives, . 24. New York State Geological Association, . 25. New York State Marine Education Association, . 26. Passow, Michael J., 2004, "Meeting the Geoscience Challenge in New York State."
New York State Education Department
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The Earth Scientist
USING INQUIRY TO STUDY SNOW DAYS Colleen Greenlaw-Whittel 9th Grade Exploratory Science Teacher, Branford Public Schools, Branford, Connecticut
My students investigated the process of cloud seeding, otherwise known as weather modification, as a means of causing snowfall in order to have a day off from school ­ a thought that is always close to their hearts!
Inquiry-based assignments are an effective means of learning science. When students are engaged in the discovery ­ that is being real scientists ­ they understand the concepts much better than if they are just told the concept. Students also get a deeper understanding of how they can use knowledge in their everyday lives. In my ninth-grade Exploratory Science class, I gave assignment that included studying weather technology. My students investigated the process of cloud seeding, otherwise known as weather modification, as a means of causing snowfall in order to have a day off from school ­ a thought that is always close to their hearts! The students had the option of doing this two ways: they were given online time in the computer lab to research Cloud Seeding, and they could research the topic at the library or other places on their own time. Once this assignment was discussed with the class, exemplars were given to the students to examine. Using these the students were able to see what was is expected of them to do well on this activity. Using the information the students found, they were to decide as a group whether or not to recommend that the town cloud seed in order to increase the number of snow days, which in our case has been none this year. First, the students had to decide what were the most important points they needed to research in order to make a good decision; they were to research social, economic, scientific, and technological effects of cloud seeding. Next, they needed to take their information, read through it to find ideas, and bring their knowledge to the group. Within small groups, they discussed each point and whether or not it was beneficial to cloud seed to get a snow day. Many students acquired very technical information from the Internet, so I suggested that they might want to find some other information that they could more easily understand. Once each group decided to try and convince the town whether or not to cloud seed, they needed to develop a persuasive presentation. Each group created a PowerPoint presentation, as well as notes to be used during the talks. We videotaped oral presentations. The students, although a bit camera shy, could support their points with some good facts. Students used the videotapes later for self assessment purposes. Finally, to reflect on their learning, the students wrote a reflective essay on their experiences doing this activity. It surprised me how almost all the groups came to the same conclusion: the town should not cloud seed, mainly due to the high price tag and its unreliability. At the start of this activity, all students were very excited about having a day off from school if this really worked. It showed that the students researched this topic and followed the decision-making process. They grasped that, to make a good decision, a person must fully understand all the information on an issue. The class performed well on this activity. We closed the activity with a very involved class discussion evaluating everyone's decision. Teaching this assignment was quite interesting because students came up with their own conclusions. The only guidance I gave was help in finding and sometimes assessing information. Many students found advertisements for companies who perform cloud seeding, and they needed help realizing that those sources may not be reliable for scientifically sound information. Where there was too much technical information, I directed the students to some sources that were clearer for them. I also liked how the students can assess themselves. The exemplars given helped students perform better on this activity. When practicing with examples, students are more readily able to access prior knowledge that they have gained from past experiences in the science class room. I recommend trying a similar activity in your classroom. The students enjoyed it immensely, and it had a wonderful effect on the students' thinking process. All students in the classroom get involved in the assignment, and outcomes are remarkable. It is a wonderful way to bring science into a real life perspective for them.
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LEARNING CONTRACTS IN EARTH AND SPACE SCIENCE CLASSROOMS Robertta H. Barba College of Education, Dept. of Instructional Technology, San Josй State University, San Jose, CAlifornia
What is a Learning Contract? A learning contract is a self-paced or self-directed learning activity where a student agrees to engage in certain learning activities within a prescribed period of time. A learning contract is a tool that facilitates and/or empowers students to investigate topics that are not covered in traditional curriculum. Learning contracts encourage students to investigate meaningful or "real-world" problems, to seek multiple sources of information, to report the results of their learning to others and engage in problem solving. Mills (1993) points out that structured freedom is a way to allow students to make choices and take risks within a given structure while providing opportunities for self-directed learning. Use of Learning Contracts The first step in the learning contract process is for students to list the educational objectives of their independent study time and to develop a plan of action to reach those educational goals. In designing their educational contracts for Earth and space science study, students need assistance in identifying learning outcomes, educational resources, potential learning activities, and creating evidence of their academic and/or professional growth. There is ample information in the literature about designing learning contracts. Knowles (1975) provided an excellent model for using learning contracts in higher education. In medical education literature, the use learning contracts in has been discussed by deTornyay and Thompson (1982), Dyck (1986), and Price, Swartz and Thurn (1983). The effectiveness of learning contracts in medical education has been discussed by Kruse and Barger (1982), McFarland (1983) and Schoolcraft and Delaney (1982). Additionally, Kreider and Barry (1993) and Moran (1980) discussed how learning contracts could facilitate and individualize educational settings. Faculty Responsibility in Learning Contracts The primary responsibility of teachers and/or faculty members is to evaluate each student's objectives for consistency with the course of study. In addition, teachers and educators must establish quality criteria to differentiate among the levels of performance ­ to decide which students have mastered the content and those that haven't. Typically, outstanding performance means that Earth and space science students show evidence of creativity, original thought, and innovative thinking in the product(s) they produce. Good performance has some degree of creativity, some creativity and some innovation in the final product(s). Satisfactory performance means that students have mastered the content, but their works exhibit little or no creativity, innovation or original thinking (Waddell & Stephens, 2000) Creativity in self-paced or self-directed learning environs is evidenced by the inventiveness that students use in identifying and selecting meaningful learning activities. Original thought in independent learning environments is evidenced by the students' development of their own voice or their own point of view on the subject (Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger & Tarule, 1986). Guiding Independent Work Faculty can stimulate students' initial thinking about contract learning in the Earth and space sciences by posing these questions suggested by DeSilets (1986) and Winebrenner and Berger (1994): What do I want to learn? Why do I want to learn this? What will I show that I can do?
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The Earth Scientist What can I do to help meet my objectives? Who or what can help me? What resources do I need? What resources do I have available? What additional materials do I need to get? How long will it take? How will I know that I know? What learning activities must be done first? next? last? What will I show to prove I have learned? How will I report my learning to others? Negotiating the Learning When the learners can adequately address these questions, they are ready to draft their first versions of their contracts. Contract negotiations stay open until both the teacher and the student have allowed time for revision and refinements. As students begin to delve into their learning activities and begin to develop clarity and precision about what they wish to accomplish within the independent learning experience, the learning contract may be rewritten and/or refined. After a few weeks, the terms of the contract are binding and the only remaining options for the student are (a) meeting the terms of the contract and receiving the grade associated with the contract, (b) receiving an unsatisfactory grade or (c) receiving an "incomplete" or delayed grade if appropriate. Another value learning contracts is the opportunity for students to gain experience in the contracting process. Contracts are, by definition, enforceable statements of agreement (Mazhindu, 1990). When students form learning contracts, they should be encouraged to break learning into "bitesized pieces"; to make sure that the agreed to work is "doable" before finalizing the learning contract. Teachers support students in the contracting writing phase by adjusting the educational objectives to meet the student's intellectual abilities (Tomlinson, 1995). Another responsibility of the teachers and/or faculty members is to provide access to learning resources. Books, videotapes, computer programs, web-based resources, CD-ROMs, audiotapes, and programmed instruction are clearly relevant resources of information for students engaged in self-paced and/or self-directed learning activities. However, other kinds of learning experiences that engage the student and promote active involvement are not as obvious or readily accessible to the students. For example, when a student's contract indicates observation of an expert or role model as an appropriate or relevant learning activity, educators can and should introduce students to these key people and/or scientists. Professional activities where students hear current issues being debated and discussed are also wonderful venues for learning. These kinds of experiences are invaluable, but students need faculty assistance in locating professional resources. Rodger and Ryan (1998) describe a six-step process for writing an independent learning contract for middle school science students involving: selecting a topic, narrowing the focus of the research, developing a workable question, brainstorms solutions, constructing hypotheses, and formally writing the methodology of the study. Benefits of Learning Contracts Several benefits result from using learning contracts in the Earth and space science classroom. First, when independent contracts are used as instructional tool, students are not treated as passive recipients of knowledge ­ they become actively engaged in forming their own learning environment. The responsibility for learning in self-directed learning environments shifts from teacher to
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students. As students decide what to learn, how to learn it, and how to demonstrate evidence of their learning, indirect learning takes place ­ particularly around Communication skills. Additionally, independent contracts allow students to develop competence in reading, writing and computation, adaptability (which includes creative thinking and problem solving), personal management expertise (self-esteem, goal setting, motivation, and personal/career development), interpersonal and negotiating skills, and organizational effectiveness (Williams, 1999). When the teacher's role is information provider; arbiter of validity and truth; establisher of the rules and regulations of classrooms; and responsible for making the connections, analogies, explanations, assumptions, and implications around ideas and theories, then the teacher is the ultimate authority in the classroom. When the teacher is sole critic, evaluator, and grader--the teacher is the power. When the teacher makes all the decisions, enforces the procedures and decides who shall speak, and when and what questions will be asked and answered--the teacher is in the authority role. Independent learning environments empower students ­ they allow students to use multiple sources of information, to form their own voice, and to control their own learning activities. What the Research Says Theoretical articles, such as that written by McGarrell (1996) point out that learning contracts are an ideal means for offering students opportunities to work toward and achieve individual goals. Those same ideas were addressed in the writing of Iverson (1995) who pointed out that self-directed learning leads to enthusiasm for the educational objectives and opportunities for intellectual challenge for students. Naylor (1988) also supports the use of independent contracts as a means of increasing student learning especially in problem-solving activities. In evaluating the effectiveness of learning contracts Moore (1988) compared the results of students assigned to teacher directed instruction and individual learning contracts. Her study found that student scores on assessment of cognitive knowledge and attitudes revealed no significant difference between teacher-directed instruction and selfpaced learning. Kass and MacDonald (1999) point out that students engaged in selfdirected learning activities develop competency in structuring meaning and gaining content area knowledge. Williams and Williams (1999) point out that learning contracts accommodate the development of independence and self-direction in students and facilitate ownership of the learning process. From an instructional viewpoint, the use of learning contracts changes the role of the instructor in the science classroom (Silverman, 1996). In classrooms where learning contracts are employed, instructors become facilitators of learning ­guides to student learning and directors of educational projects. Bowyer in 1995 drew similar conclusions about the effectiveness of learning contracts in the science classroom. Topics for Earth and Space Science Learning Contracts Independent learning contracts can be used to investigate a variety of topics in the Earth and space science classroom, including: · atmosphere - climatology and storms · Astronomy and Astrophysics · Earth's dynamic processes and landforms · planetary science and solar system · ancient life and/or fossils
Independent learning environments empower students ­ they allow students to use multiple sources of information, to form their own voice, and to control their own learning activities.
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Independent learning contracts have been shown to be an effective instructional strategy for empowering students and for broadening course offerings to students.
· space weather · cryosphere - continental ice and glaciers · biosphere - biomes, population, energy, vegetation · geosphere ­ earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, ring of fire, rocks, minerals, remote sensing, mapping · hydrosphere - oceans, seas, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams · local environmental concerns and/or issues Conclusion Independent learning contracts have been shown to be an effective instructional strategy for empowering students and for broadening course offerings to students. Independent learning contracts are a vital tool for personalizing learning and for making "non-traditional" topics available for student learning. They provide students an opportunity to engage in self-directed and/or self-paced learning in the Earth and space science classroom. References · Belenky, M., Clinchy, B., Goldberger, N., & Tarule, J. (1986). Women's ways of knowing, the development of self, voice, and mind. New York: Basic Books. · Bower, J. (1995). Teaching Environmental Science: Alternatives to whole-class instruction. Interactions, 7(3), 18-20. · Clark, K.M. (1986). Recent developments in self-directed learning. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 17(3), 76-80. · DeSilets, L. (1986). Self-directed learning in voluntary and mandatory continuing education programs. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 17(3), 81-83. · deTornyay, R., & Thompson, M.A. (1982). Using learning contracts. In Strategies for teaching nursing (pp.191-208). New York: A Wiley Medical Publishers. · Dyck, S. (1986). Self-directed learning for the RN in a baccalaureate program. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 17(6), 194-197. · Hamilton, L. & Gregor, F., (1986). Self-directed learning in a critical care nursing program. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 17(3), 94-99. · Iverson, C.M. (1995). The poser of the learning contract emerges once again. Adult Learning, 6, 15-16. · Kass, H. & MacDonald, A.L. (1999). The learning contribution of student self-directed building activity in science. Science Education, 83(4), 449-471. · Knowles, M. (1975). Self-directed learning. A guide for learners and teachers. New York: Association Press. · Kreider, M.C., & Barry, M.B. (1993). Clinical ladder development: Implementing contract learning. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 24(4), 166-169. · Kruse, L.C., & Barger, D.M.F. (1982). Development and implementation of a contract grading system. The Journal of Nursing Education, 21(5), 31-37. · Mazhindu, G.D. (1990). Contract learning reconsidered: A critical examination of implications for application in nurse education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 15(1), 101-109. · McFarland, M.B. (1983). Contract grading: An alternative for faculty and students. Nurse Educator, 8(4), 3-6. · McCarrell, H.M. (1996). Self-directed learning contracts to individualize language learning in the classroom. foreign language Annals, 29, 495-508. · Mills, S. (1993) Centered on students: Stations, packages, centres, instructional strategies Series No. 14. Saskatchewan, Canada: Saskatchewan Book Bureau.
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· Moore, B.M. (1988). Direct instruction and affective learning. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. · Moran, V. (1980). Facilitating self-directed learning: The role of the staff development director. In S.S. Cooper (Ed.), Self-directed learning in nursing (pp. 64-89). Wakefield, MA: Nursing Resources. · Naylor, M. (1988). Improving basic skills of vocational education students. ERIC Digest No. 69. · Price, M.H., Swartz, L.M., & Thurn, K.E. (1983). The guided study: Self-directed learning for nurses. Nurse Educator, 8(4), 27-30. · Rodger, D. & Ryan, A. G. (1998). Sign on the dotted line. Science Scope, 21 (2), 22-24. · Schoolcraft, V., & Delaney, C. (1982). Contract grading in clinical education. The Journal of Nursing Education, 21(1), 6-9. · Silverman, M.P. (1996). Self-directed learning: Philosophy and implementation. Science and Education, 5(4), 357-380. · Tomlinson, C.A. (1995). Differentiating instruction for advanced learners in the mixed-ability middle school classroom. ERIC Digest E536. · Waddell, D. L. & Stephens, S. (2000). Use of Learning Contracts in a RN-to-BSN Leadership Course. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing 31(4),179-184. · Williams, A. & Williams, P.J. (1999). The effects of the use of learning contracts on student performance in technology teacher training. Research in Science and Technology Education, 17(2), 193-201. · Williams, G.T. (1999). Creating Win-Win Capstone Projects. ERIC Doc. JC000423. · Winnebrenner, S. & Berger, S. (1994). Providing curriculum alternatives to motivate gifted students. ERIC Digest E524.
THE EARTH SCIENTIST ARTICLE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES · Original material. · Clear and concise writing style. · Demonstrates clear classroom relevance. · Proper use of references (please use author and date references within the text). Format Specifications: · Microsoft Word or plain text files. · Title page: Include author names, school/organizations, mailing address, home and work phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. · Figures should be numbered and include captions. · Photos should be good-quality JPEG format or send prints/negatives to the Editor. If using pictures of students, a signed model release will be required of each student pictured (this can be mailed to the Editor). · E-mail correspondence is preferred, but materials can be sent on disk(s) to the Editor. Mail to: Michael J. Smith 403 West Chestnut Hill Road Newark, DE 19713 [email protected]
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National Earth Science Teachers Association Guided Learning Field Trip Wednesday March 30, 2005 The Ancient Transgressive Sea of the Dallas Area Dr. Louis Jacobs, SMU Visit areas to study sedimentary formations, structures, collect fossils, study dinosaur tracks, and more!
Please join us at these events and more in Dallas!
REGISTRATION FORM Must be submitted by March 15, 2005 EMAIL Registrations will not be accepted. Name:_________________________________________________ Phone______________________ Address ___________________________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip ______________________________________________________________________ Email _____________________________________________(REQUIRED) Are you presently a NESTA member? Yes / No (See address label for expiration date) Registration Fee includes transportation, guidebook and box lunch · NESTA MEMBER: $55 · NON MEMBER: $65 (included: 1 year NESTA membership) Send completed Registration Form and required Fee to: Mr. Bruce P. Hall NESTA Treasurer 4784 Four Seasons Drive Liverpool, NY 13088-3610
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NESTA EVENTS AT NSTA IN DALLAS, TEXAS National Earth Science Teachers Association Earth and Space Science Resource Day Breakfast Saturday, April 2, 2005 7:00 - 8:30 A.M. Adam's Mark Hotel - Trinity 3 Room The 2004-2005 Eruption of Mount St. Helens: The Science of Monitoring an Erupting Volcano in the 21st Century Dr. Seth Moran, USGS, Cascades Volcano Observatory The 2004-2005 eruption of Mount St. Helens has been truly remarkable in many respects. In this talk I'll try to give a flavor for what we think has happened at the volcano from before unrest started through to the present. I will also focus on the methods and technologies we used and developed to record data streams that have been vital in monitoring a truly remarkable eruption, as well as some of the issues we faced in the crucial task of informing emergency managers and the public about the daily goings-on at Mount St. Helens." REGISTRATION FORM Must be submitted by March 15, 2005 EMAIL Registrations cannot be accepted. Name:_________________________________________________ Phone ___________________ Address_________________________________________________________________________ City, State, Zip ___________________________________________________________________ Email _____________________________________________ (REQUIRED) COST $26/PERSON $26 X Number of tickets ............. = $......................... Send completed Registration Form and required Fee to: Mr. Bruce P. Hall NESTA Treasurer 4784 Four Seasons Drive Liverpool, NY 13088-3610
One of the Mitten Buttes of Monument Valley in Arizona. These monuments of the valley are created as soft shales of the Cutler Formation erode away, leaving massive vertically jointed slabs of sandstone without support. Image Credit: Bruce Molnia, Terra Photographics. Image Source: AGI Earth Science World ImageBank.
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