June 29, 2010 - For the past two weeks, local educators and college students have been working with scientists to develop locally focused earth science curriculum for teachers to take back to their classrooms. Funded by a $173,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, "San Joaquin Valley Rocks!: Inspiring Future Geoscientists" is hosted by the CSUB geology department.
Two geology instructors from CSUB have teamed up with scientists from the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Kern County Museum, as well as geology students from CSUB and Bakersfield College, and teachers from the Bakersfield City School District, Rosedale School District, and Kern High School District. They've been studying such topics as how the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains formed, evidence of the ancient ocean that covered Bakersfield 15 million years ago, and how oil formed in the earth beneath Kern County. This week, they are creating lesson plans to teach these topics at both the sixth grade and high school levels.
"We are preparing thorough instructions and background materials so that a teacher with little or no earth science background can feel comfortable and hopefully excited about teaching these lessons," said Staci Loewy, assistant professor of geology at CSUB. With the growing focus on language arts and math in schools, she says subjects such as science are not getting as much attention. "We are trying to provide teachers with better tools to get kids excited about earth science," she said.
During the upcoming school year, teacher participants will test the new activities in the classroom, refine them, and then share them with area teachers in a workshop next summer at CSUB, with the goal of implementing the lessons throughout the participating school districts.
"San Joaquin Valley Rocks!: Inspiring Future Geoscientists" is one of four science-related, grant-funded projects taking place at CSUB this summer:
• REVS-UP (Research Experience Vitalizing Science-Campus Program), funded by Chevron Corp, hires local teachers and high school students to help CSUB with 14 different research projects, including geology, biology, chemistry, computer science, math and physics. Learn more at www.csub.edu/stem.
• A grant from the Keck Geology Consortium will bring together college students from around the country to study the geologic history of the Sierra Nevada in collaboration with CSUB's Geology Department, Pomona College and the USGS-Stanford Geochronology Laboratory. Students will collect samples at Sequoia National Forest, process them at CSUB, then analyze them at Stanford, before returning home with assignments for the coming year. Learn more at http://keckgeology.org.
• In another project funded by a $295,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, a team of CSUB science, math and education faculty is working with Kern High School District science and math teachers, administrators and community partners to develop a Math and Science Institute Partnership that would provide professional development for teachers. More info can be found here: http://gvmsp.mspnet.org.
For more information:
Media ContactColleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs & Communications