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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Alaska Geological Society


The Alaska Geological Society 2007 Technical Conference Abstracts Volume, 2007
Page 6

Experiential Discoveries in Geoscience Education - EDGE: Teaching Field Science and GIS to Alaska’s Science Teachers and Their Students - Abstract

C. Connor,1 A. Prakash2

Experiential Discoveries in Geoscience Education (EDGE) is an NSF-GeoEd funded two year project (2006–2008). A one year cycle for the project has activities that include college credit courses in GIS and field experiences for Alaska science teachers and their pre-college students. In June 2006, 15 secondary school math and science teachers from around Alaska came to Juneau to attend a 3-credit course that focused on enhancing their quantitative skills in Earth System Science through the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques and field methods. Teachers collected field data using Etrex WAIS capable GPS receivers, flow meters, stadia rods, measuring tapes, digital cameras, and through their own field observations. Teachers learned and used ArcGIS 9 to generate map outputs that showed quantitative aspects of a feature or phenomenon, such as the total watershed area, or retreat of the glacial terminus over time.

In August 2006, 27 pre-college students recommended by their EDGE teachers traveled to Juneau and stayed in the dorms to participate in a 5-day, 2-credit, introductory college-level course. Students divided their time between outdoor field sessions with data collection and indoor GIS labs. EDGE students were introduced to the fundamentals of ArcGIS in morning computer lab sessions. Afternoon EDGE field excursions enabled students to learn about glacial geomorphology from river rafts, to collect stream discharge and other hydrologic data in local streams, and to integrate glacier recession observations with GPS waypoints collected from observed recessional positions.

During the Fall Semester, EDGE teachers mentored their students through Science Fair Projects during an online course with Connor. EDGE teachers and students returned to the UAS Juneau campus in March 2007 for an EDGE symposium during which the students presented their projects to Juneau area researchers, undergraduates and elementary children and competed in the Southeast Alaska Regional Science Fair held the same weekend. A new year of EDGE with a new cohort of EDGE teachers and students will begin in June 2007.

Acknowledgments and Associated Footnotes

1 C. Connor: University of Alaska Southeast; phone: (907) 796-6293; fax: (907) 796-6406;

2 A. Prakash: Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks; phone: (907) 474-1897; fax: (907 474-7290;

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