Training teachers to think like a geologist: an example using seafloor sediments to reconstruct Antarctic ice shelf history

State the focus of the workshop and its relevance to the science teacher education.
This workshop focuses on identifying and developing several of the essential skills used by earth scientists as they: 1) collect data from a vertical succession of sedimentary rocks, and 2) use that data to interpret the history of conditions at the earth’s surface through time. Given the limited time available, this workshop will focus on three essential skills/concepts: 1) the ability to make scientifically valid observations; 2) the ability to think over a range of timescales, from days or less to millions of years; and 3) the ability to apply Walther’s Law, a fundamental principle of geologic thinking that allows us to interpret a vertical succession of rocks in terms of the lateral migration of a suite of related contemporaneous environments at the earth’s surface. These essential skills/concepts will be explored using an example based on seafloor sediments cored beneath the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica, but developing these skills/concepts is relevant to science teacher education because these skills/concepts are applied to the study of sedimentary rocks anywhere in the world. In other words, being comfortable with these skills/concepts is essential for teaching how geology is “done” as a science, which is fundamentally different from how science is “done” in a benchtop setting, such as a physics or chemistry lab.

Explain who within the ASTE membership would be most interested in your presentation (e.g., methods instructors, educational researchers, curriculum developers, etc.) and why.
This workshop will be of most interest to instructors of science methods courses, because those instructors are responsible for ensuring that preservice teachers are well-versed in the content and methods used in the various fields of science, including geology. This workshop may also be of interest to curriculum developers, because the materials used in this workshop were developed into an inquiry-focused chapter, based on original scientific data, by the workshop presenter and co-authors in Reconstructing Earth’s Climate History (St. John and others, 2012).

Describe the expertise/experience of the workshop presenters to present in the topic area.
The workshop presenter (Krissek) is Professor Emeritus in the School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, and has extensive experience with scientific drilling, Antarctic geology, paleoclimatic interpretation of sedimentary successions, and earth science education. On the science content side, Krissek has 35 years’ experience investigating Antarctica’s climate history in NSF-funded projects; he was lead sedimentologist during the ANDRILL McMurdo Ice Shelf Project, which recovered the sedimentary sequence discussed in this workshop. On the education and science education side, Krissek has received teaching awards from his department and from Ohio State University; he has taught professional development programs for in-service teachers funded by the Ohio Department of Higher Education and by the U.S. Science Support Program for scientific ocean drilling; and he has served on the leadership teams for Ohio State’s Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows program and NSF-funded Noyce Fellowship program.

List the learning objectives of the workshop and how you will assess whether participants met those objectives.
Learning objectives for this workshop are:
1) Participants recognize the important types of data that are collected from sediments and sedimentary rocks.
2) Participants recognize that physical characteristics of sediments/sedimentary rocks record processes acting at a range of timescales at the site where that sediment is deposited.
3) Participants recognize that Walther’s Law can be used to interpret a suite of contemporaneous laterally adjacent surficial environments from a vertical succession of sediments/sedimentary rocks.
4) Participants recognize how the sedimentary succession in the ANDRILL-1B drillcore provides evidence for major changes in the size of the McMurdo Ice Shelf during the past 5 million years.

Participant achievement of these learning objectives will be assessed through a post-workshop survey. That survey will ask the participant to evaluate her/his level of agreement, using a Likert scale, with each of the four learning objectives. A second question for each learning objective will ask the participant to rate how much her/his recognition of that learning objective changed as a result of the workshop.

Provide a description of the workshop activities/ instructional strategies you will be using to meet the objectives.
This workshop will combine multiple participant explorations of primary scientific data with brief explanations of geologic principles, interpretations, and terminology, and will incorporate at least 1 kinesthetic demonstration of Walther’s Law. The workshop will begin with the participants examining macroscopic and microscopic views of various types of sediments/sedimentary rocks, with a focus on observations of similarities and differences. These observations will be followed by a brief discussion of the scientific basis for, and terminology of, marine sedimentary rock names. We will then introduce 4 important physical environments that occur in the vicinity of an ice sheet and ice shelf, examine the processes at work in each environment over a range of timescales, and define the characteristics of the sediments deposited in each environment. Workshop participants will then conduct a kinesthetic demonstration of how those 4 environments migrate, and how their associated sediment types are deposited in a characteristic vertical sequence, during glacial advance and retreat. In the final part of the workshop, participants will apply their knowledge of glacial sediment stacking patterns to published scientific data from the ANDRILL-1B drillcore, in order to interpret the history of the McMurdo Ice Shelf during the past ~5 million years

Describe how you will make yourself available/offer support to the participants for continuing their learning and collaboration after they return to their home institutions.
I will be available to the participants by direct contact (e-mail, phone, videoconference) to support the participants after the workshop. The materials used in the workshop will be taken from 2 chapters in St. John et al. (2012); those chapters are available without charge from the SERC website, the publisher, or me, and an Instructor’s Guide is available from the book authors.
These chapters have been used by Krissek and other book authors in a number of professional development settings; we have anecdotal information from participants in those PDs that they were able to move these activities into their own classrooms without needing much additional support from the authors. However, I will be happy to provide any support that’s needed by participants from this workshop.

Describe any attention to diversity or equity in the workshop presentation.
The topics/concepts/skills addressed in this workshop do not provide an opportunity to explicitly address diversity or equity issues. The workshop and its presentation are welcoming to all.