Some years ago, I taught a full-semester three-credit University course for Education majors who were interested in earth sciences as their primary area.  The course was directed towards the proposition that Geology was important because it was central to every human endeavor that led us from life in the outdoors , trying to survive with no tools (including no rock hammers  or obsidian knives), to life in caves with rudimentary tools to life in buildings with TV and cell phones and ball point pens and cars, all of which are made of geologic materials.  In short, Geology is central to the development of societies and civilizations, and the course looked at major events in history that moved this development forward and the primary role of a geologic factor that was instrumental in the outcome.


As I said above, this was a University-level course.  I am not sure how such a course should be modified and shortened to accommodate elementary and middle school and high school students.  But I am confident that part of the reason why Geology (Earth Sciences) is not readily included in the curriculum at so many places is that the critical importance of GEOLOGY IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES (the title of one of my lectures) is generally not discussed.


I am not sure that this is the kind of response you were looking for, but I do think that one line of research should be how to get my observation into the consciousness of students and teachers and principals and parents.




Dr. Arthur Mirsky

Professor Emeritus

Department of Earth Sciences – IUPUI

Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis

723 W. Michigan Street

Indianapolis, IN 46202-5132

Phone:  317- 278-0029

E-mail:  [log in to unmask]

From: GEOEDUCATION RESEARCH INTEREST GROUP [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Helen King
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2008 1:44 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Geoscience Education Research Info Request
Importance: High


Hi everyone,


I have been invited to participate in a panel discussion at a workshop conducted by the National Academies’ Board on Science Education at the end of June. I’ve been asked to provide a brief presentation summarizing the major findings from geoscience education research and identifying directions for future research (see messages below).


Whilst I feel I have a reasonable perspective on these things myself, it would be great to know that I’m appropriately representing the community of geoscience education researchers. So I’d really welcome your ideas and comments under each of these headings:

1)      Summarize the major findings from discipline-based education research in your discipline (geosciences).

2)      Identify the most promising or important directions for future research.


Thanks very much for your help and hope to see you all at GSA in October!

All the best,




Dr Helen King NTF FSEDA


Helen King Consultancy

Personal & Professional Development in Higher Education

Tel: (001) 703 505 3358




From: Hilton, Margaret [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 04 June 2008 13:09
To: Helen King
Cc: Schweingruber, Heidi; Krone, Rebecca
Subject: RE: Invitation-June 30th


Hi, Helen:


Thanks so much for participating in the panel discussion of discipline-based geosciences education research at our June 30th workshop.  This panel is tentatively scheduled to last one hour and will include 4 panelists from different disciplines.  In order to maximize discussion, I hope you will provide a brief 10-minute presentation that will do two things:


3)       Summarize the major findings from discipline-based education research in your discipline (geosciences).

4)       Identify the most promising or important directions for future research.


The other panelists will include Bill Wood, Biology, University of Colorado; Joe Redish, Physics, University of Maryland, and Art Ellis, Chemistry, Seattle Pacific University.


I’ll send you the agenda next week, when it is more fully developed.








From: Hilton, Margaret [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 03 June 2008 11:56
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: Schweingruber, Heidi
Subject: Invitation-June 30th


Dear Dr. King:


With support from the National Science Foundation, the National Academies’ Board on Science Education is conducting a series of two workshops on Promising Practices in Undergraduate STEM Education. The workshops are designed to explore the evidence of impact for selected innovations and to provide information to the Wisconsin Center for Education Research in its effort to expand national dissemination of evidence-based knowledge and resources to improve undergraduate STEM education.  A more complete description of the workshop series is pasted below this message.


I’m writing to invite you to participate in a panel discussion of discipline-based education research during the first workshop, to be held on June 30th here in Washington, DC.  The overall guiding question for this panel is: What is the state of evidence in discipline-based education research?  We are especially interested in the state of evidence of the effectiveness of changes in pedagogy within individual STEM courses and classrooms. 


If you are interested and available, we would ask you to prepare a short presentation as part of the panel discussion. 


I hope to hear from you soon about your participation in this important workshop.




Margaret Hilton


Margaret Hilton
Senior Program Officer
for Education
The National Academies
[log in to unmask]

Numerous and varied teaching, learning, assessment, and institutional promising practices  in undergraduate STEM education have been developed in recent years – many funded by NSF-- but little is known about their impact.  The goal of this proposal is to begin to focus on the evidence of impact for a selected number of such promising practices.  To do this the National Research Council (NRC) will facilitate two, one-day workshops which will be overseen by an independent steering committee appointed by the Chairman of the NRC.  Each workshop will shed light on the state of knowledge on the selected STEM promising practices as well as suggest areas for additional research or where a major synthesis of existing research is needed.  All of the conceptual work described in this proposal will be coordinated with and provide information and guidance to the work of another proposal being sent to NSF by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER).