I just created a new course geology for teachers and I am planning on doing some inservice trainning on earth and space science this fall, I will target each school individually and see what happens next. I agree with all of you, the lack of science preparation of our elementary and secondary science teachers is low but we all can make a differnece if we take a small time of our busy schedule and help them with the areas they have problems with. I will be conducting an "earth week" activity at the college in ND and will invite schools to participate, not just come and go but particpate with posters, activities and curriculum enhancement by the teachers in those particpating schools.
I aplaud each one of you for trying to make a difference in earth science teaching -
Tibi Marin

----- Original Message ----
From: Jen O'Keefe <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, June 5, 2008 1:20:21 PM
Subject: Re: Geoscience Education Research Info Request

Hi all,


I absolutely agree that we need to get more good earth and space science into elementary school.  We see the same problem in our area ( Kentucky ) that Jenelle does in Nevada , but with a bit of a twist:  the elementary and middle school TEACHERS don’t know their earth/space science content well.  I’ve spent the last three years teaching a new course at Morehead State in inquiry earth and space science for future elementary teachers, which is helping to solve the problem.  This is not happening nearly quickly enough, in part because the first full cohort of freshmen to take the course will just now be student teaching next year.  Workshops to date have not been sufficient to address the problem among practicing teachers, as there is, in general, little administrative support for science workshops for elementary teachers: NCLB seems to be driving math and reading to the extreme. 


Part of the problem is cultural in Eastern Kentucky .  Earth and Space sciences teach things that the more conservative in our area consider to be wrong at best and heretical at worst.  I have been asked several times why I don’t teach my class “real science,” like they do at the creationist museum in northern Kentucky …


The second issue we ought to consider in geoscience education research is best practices for teaching the geosciences.  I have used the full spectrum of inquiry in my class for future elementary teachers:  based on anecdotal evidence and as-yet-not-fully-analyzed pre- and post- data, I would suggest that only guided inquiry has been effective in motivating student learning and attitude improvement toward the discipline.  Are we finding the same thing in the K-12 classroom?  


Best wishes,





Jen O’Keefe

Assistant Professor of Science

Department of Physical Sciences

Morehead State University

Morehead , KY 40351


606 783 2349 (office)

606 783 5002 (fax)


[log in to unmask]



From: GEOEDUCATION RESEARCH INTEREST GROUP [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jenelle D. Hopkins

Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 11:20 AM

To: [log in to unmask]

Subject: Re: Geoscience Education Research Info Request


I agree that we need to do more to get good geoscience into elementary school.  With 'No Child Left Behind', hardly any science is taught in our district.  The minutes must be used for reading and math - and most administrators don't support teachers who try to use science as the 'hook' to get students to want to do reading and math.  I am always amazed at how some ideas presented in these early grades stay with the students so much better than what I am trying to get them to remember in their teen-age years during a high school science class.  So we need to make sure that these teachers - who are often afraid of trying to do any science - are presenting age appropriate and correct geoscience topics.


And how about the problem of students 'learning' science from movies and television?  How do we 'unlearn'  these concepts - I sure can't compete with Hollywood special effects!!!


Jenelle D. Hopkins, NBCT

Earth and Environmental Science Teacher

Centennial High School

10200 Centennial Parkway

Las Vegas , Nevada    89149

Phone:  799-3440


It is precisely for this that I love geology.  It is infinite and ill-defined: like poetry, it immerses itself in mysteries and floats among them without drowning.  It does not manage to lay bare the unknown, but it flaps the surrounding veils to and fro, and every so often gleams of light escape and dazzle one's vision.


R. Töpffer, Nouvelles genevoises (1841)