Teaching ESS

PAESTA member Dave Curry came across an exciting prehistoric find on an exposed limestone outcrop while he and group of PAESTA members explored the Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Remediation Project along the North Fork of the Montour Run.  Members of PAESTA were exploring this site as part of the K12 Teacher Weekend field trip during the 2017 NE/NC Joint GSA Conference in Pittsburgh.  This edge-on cross section of a Paleozoec horn coral was deposited in a warm, shallow sea sometime in the late Ordovician or Permian, some 251 to 488 million years ago.  Horn corals, which are distantly related to jellyfish, are solitary corals that are now extinct, as they died out during the Great Permian Extinction (The Great Dying).  This greatest of mass extinctions wiped out 96% of all marine species and 70% of all land species.  Thanks to the Montour Run Watershed Association (http://www.MRWA.info (link is external)) and Karen Rose Cercone of IUP for organizing the trip!

Note: This fossil-rich limestone may have been unearthed (not in its original site of deposition) and moved during coal extraction in this strip and deep mining coal area.

Full Taxonomic CLassification:

Domain: Eukarya

Kindom: Animal (Animalia)

Phylum: Cnidaria (Coelenterata)

Class: Anthozoa

Subclass: Zoantharia (Hexacorallia)

Order: Rugosa (rugose means wrinkled, which describes the outside horn shape)

Family: Zaphrentidae

Genus: Heliophyllum

 

 

Horn_Coral

Controversial Topics in Earth Science Courses

NESTA reports on a survey of teachers who were asked to report on the most and least controversial topics that they teach in their Earth Science classes. Controversy was defined as receiving pressure from students, parents, administrators, or the community.

The most controversial topics included: evolution, the age of the Earth/geologic time, climate change, solar system formation, and planetary formation.

The least controversial topics included: magnetism, electricity, the water cycle, the structure of the Sun, and ocean circulation.

Learning to Learn from Data

from: Earth and Mind: Reflections on Thinking and Learning about the Earth
http://serc.carleton.edu/earthandmind/posts/datalearningpro.html

An interesting article that considers the importance of giving students the opportunity to collect data and how students learn to make sense of data and graphs.

Scientists learn from data. Learning to learn from data is obviously an essential aspect of the education of a future scientist.

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