National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Southeastern Section Newsletter
Email Edition - Summer / Fall 2003

From the National Science Teachers Association: States Address Evolution Issue

As the school year begins, New Mexico and Texas are being challenged to include tenets of intelligent design in science standards and textbooks. NSTA fully supports the teaching of evolution and encourages states and districts to resist any efforts to include non-scientific theories in science teaching. We encourage you to monitor the issue in your state and voice your support for quality science education. For a synopsis of the activity and to view the NSTA position statement on The Teaching of Evolution (click here).

The Central Arkansas Gem, Mineral, and Geology Society, member of the Midwest Federation of Mineralogical Societies, and the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies want to make its annual Show better than ever. In 2003, the Show will be the first weekend in October with dealers and the public coming from across the nation. Our goal is to make this a major event in the Mid-South and help provide education.  A word about those wishing to show their items: 1. the cost per day is only $ 10.00 for the two-day event; 2. members and the public are encouraged to display and interact with everyone (the kids love it); 3. free parking; 4. free public admittance; 5. free door prizes; 6. kids “dig” area; 7. this is a family-type Show with a casual atmosphere; 8. we want newcomers as well as seasoned dealers to help make the Show a success!

Ron Wilhelm, Rock Show Coordination Committee (

The lesson plan design contest is new to Earth Science Week (ESW) this year. It is open to all teachers: K-university. Interested teachers should design a lesson plan for an activity that helps students to better understand and appreciate the importance of monitoring our planet. Lesson plans should tie in with the theme "Eyes on Planet Earth: Monitoring Our Changing World" and use the US Geological Survey's web resources ( or USGS materials included in the ESW 2003 kits. Lesson plans can involve anything from observing the effects of wind on a nearby beach to examining water drawn from a well as long as it involves the monitoring of Earth science. All lesson plan designs must be the original work of the entrant and may not include copyrighted material from other sources. Winners will be selected in four categories: Elementary (K-4), Middle School (5-8), High School (9-12), and Undergraduate. A winner in each category will receive $300 worth of AGI materials and classroom resources and will be published on the Earth Science Week web site.

For information about the contest, deadlines, and so on, visit their website (click here); Earth Science Week Home Page (click here).


Attention Middle School Teachers - Online Earth Science Course!
The University of Tennessee at Martin (UTM), in partnership with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the Center for Educational Technology (CET),
offers an online, semester-long, graduate-level course in Earth-System Science. The course is aimed at middle-school Earth Science teachers who wish to obtain graduate credit, improve their teaching styles, and incorporate cutting-edge Earth Science content into their classrooms. Teachers taking the course will go through a sixteen week extensive introduction to student-centered learning techniques and develop four inquiry-based activity modules in the Earth Sciences that can be used in their classrooms. The students will work in teams with other teachers, and thus can make good contacts within the education community. The course will be completely online, utilizing a curriculum developed by NASA and CET, so anyone with access to a computer can participate.

The first 24 students to sign up will have their tuition waived!!!!!

The course will be taught by a quartet of specialists in the field:
• Dr. Mark Simpson (UTM): meteorology and climatology
• Dr. Michael Gibson (UTM): oceanography & Earth history
• Dr. Don Byerly (UT-Knoxville): geology & environment
• Dr. Lionel Crews (UTM): astronomy & physics

In addition to the course, a field trip to gain hands-on experience and to have a face-to-face meeting will be scheduled during the semester. Students enrolled in the course will also be invited to attend an extended field trip course (Geology of Tennessee) during the summer for additional credit.

For more information, and/or to pre-register, contact Lionel Crews
Phone: (731)-587-7430 (Secretary: Janice Lee)
Email: Web:

Course Description
The course is primarily aimed at middle school earth science teachers, but other grade levels and teachers who are thinking of teaching earth science in the future would benefit as well. It is fully online, and the weekly tasks are done at your own pace. The focus is on Earth System Science, which is a method of describing the Earth using the 4 major spheres of influence: hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere. By connecting these spheres to each other and to various events, a better understanding of the whole picture of Earth evolution is achieved.

The course starts with a 3-week “practice” session to help participants become accustomed to the online environment, and the new ways of thinking about earth science. The main part of the course is four 3-week modules that cover different events: volcanoes, hurricanes, deforestation, and ice shelf disintegration. In the first week, participants will individually become experts in the effects of a single sphere on the event. For example, participant 1 may become an expert on how the atmosphere effects a volcanic eruption. The participants do research using the provided textbooks for the course, web searches, and any other resources they can find.

In the second week a hydrosphere expert, an atmosphere expert, a lithosphere expert, and a biosphere expert will team up to create a comprehensive description of the event. The team will use “causal chains”, which are chains of interactions between the spheres, to describe the event. Each participant will then use the third week to create a classroom application (from a single lecture to an entire unit) that uses what they have learned. Previous participants in the course have already begun using their classroom applications successfully.

After completing the first module, participants will switch to a new event. However, the participants will “jig-saw” to different spheres. In other words, a participant who was the hydrosphere expert for the first event will become a biosphere expert for the second event. After 4 modules, a participant will have a chance to become an expert in all four spheres.

To wrap things up and final project and optional field trip allow the participants to put together everything they have learned, and meet each other face to face. Last year, we went fossil hunting on rock faces in Nashville.

NAGT Distinguished Lecturer Series: Fall 2003 and Spring 2004

Host an NAGT Distinguished Speaker for a workshop on
innovative teaching techniques or curricula reform

Ed Geary:
Center for Science, Director, Mathematics & Technology Education, Colorado State University

Revolutionizing Earth and Space Science Education in the 21st Century: Roles of Individuals and Organizations

Integrating Content, Technology, Pedagogy, and Assessment to enhance Inquiry-based Learning

Karen G. Havholm:
Department of Geology,
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire

“Time To Learn": Facilitating K-12 Teacher Professional Development

Elementary/Middle School Education Majors: What Earth Science do they need to know?

Process before Content in an Introductory Geoscience Undergraduate Course

Faculty Student Collaborative Research: Benefits and Pitfalls


Michelle Hall-Wallace:
Department of Geoscience,
University of Arizona

EarthScope: An unprecedented opportunity for teaching about Earth

Building Effective University - School partnerships

Visualizing Earth: What works for students?

Sharon Locke:
USM Research Institutes,
University of Southern Maine

The hidden minority: Students with disabilities in the geoscience classroom.

Universal design in education: Principles and implications for the future of geoscience education

Earth system science research in coastal environments as a model for in-service teacher professional development programs.

Dave W. Mogk:
Department of Earth Science, Montana State University

Teaching with an Earth System Approach

Bridging Research and Education in Geoscience Education


Jill K. Singer:
SUNY, College at Buffalo

Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Opportunities: Taking Advantage of an Urban Setting

The Follies of Lotus Bay and Other Tales: An Earth Scientist’s Role in Environmental Policy

Two Years in NSF's DUE (Division of Undergraduate Education): Perspectives on Programs and Opportunities for Geoscientists

Marilyn J. Suiter:
Geoscience Educator, Arlington, VA

Implementing STEM Education for ALL Students

Earth Science Education:
Challenges and Opportunities

If you have questions about a potential speaker or if you are interested in an application to request a Distinguished Speaker, or for funding costs to cover a Speaker’s Travel Expenses, contact Ian MacGregor: 1198 Laurel St., Berkeley, CA, 94708; email:; Phone: 510-527-7881

NAGT Strategic Planning: Everyone is invited to comment on our new Strategic Plan.
Between February and June 2003, dozens of suggestions were made to improve the first draft of NAGT’s strategic plan. The main purpose of this strategic planning process is to create a new NAGT Strategic Plan (we don’t currently have one) that will help to guide the Association for the next 3-5 years. As part of this process we have been examining NAGT’s mission, goals, objectives and programs with respect to sectional, national, and individual member perspectives. Both the first and second drafts of the NAGT Strategic Plan are, or will shortly be posted at We are asking each and every member of NAGT to take some time this summer to review the second draft of the plan and provide feedback. Your comments and ideas will help to improve the plan and insure that the plan is representative of the diverse NAGT membership.

A third draft of the Plan, will be developed in September, 2003. The third draft will include specific “Action Strategies” and “Programs” (i.e. “more meat”) that we are or should be doing to help us to meet short and long-term NAGT Goals and Objectives. So please send us suggestions of “Action Strategies” and “Programs” related to specific goals and objectives found in the second plan draft. These suggestions may be examples of already existing NAGT programs or activities, or activities you feel NAGT should undertake in the future. As you send in your suggestions, please let us know what you think about current NAGT programs and products. Also, let us know what programs, products, and activities, are most important to you personally, as well as to the health and success of NAGT at both Section and National levels.

All comments and ideas on the second draft of the Plan, should be sent to both Cathy Manduca ( and Ed Geary ( )

Thank you for your time, comments, and commitment to NAGT

Ed Geary
NAGT 2002-2003 President


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