--> --> Abstract: Exploring the Geology of Texas: A South Texas Geological Society K-12 Outreach Program that Works, by Wayne E. Gordon and Walter W. Coppinger; #90914(2000)

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Wayne E. Gordon1, Walter W. Coppinger2
(1) South Texas Geological Society, San Antonio, TX
(2) Tinity University

Abstract: Exploring the geology of Texas: A South Texas Geological Society K-12 outreach program that works

The S.T.G.S. geology outreach program is successful because it appeals simply and directly to K-12 students’ natural curiosity about the world around them. This program has value and significance because, for many students, it represents the only formal exposure to geology that they will experience in their K-12 curriculum that is presented by an individual with training in the discipline. The program was conceived and implemented as an inquiry-driven exposition on the geology of Texas. Students gain an appreciation of geology as a scientific discipline. They learn what geologists do, what tools and technologies are applied to problem-solving, and how geologic interpretations and conclusions are determined. Discussion of careers and job opportunities in the earth sciences is a part of each presentation.

Hands-on materials are used extensively and include: the time scale, geologic maps of San Antonio and Texas, and sequential plate tectonic reconstructions. Specimens of the 3 genetic rock types and a selection of local and regional fossils are always a highlight. The format of the presentation regardless of level, is built around a guided tour of the geology of Texas. Student questions drive the resulting discussions and actively determine the level of sophistication of the presentation content.

The on-site program is available to classes or groups from grades 2 through 12, from schools in south and central Texas within a radius of 100 miles of San Antonio. About 30 presentations are made annually to groups ranging in size from 30 to more than 100 students. Last year, visits were made to 16 elementary schools, 5 middle schools, and 5 high schools. Assessment of the outreach program gained through feedback from students, teachers, and parents, has been remarkably positive.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana