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Kent C. Kirkby1, Paul L. Morin1, Dirk Slawinski1
(1) University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Abstract: Integrating research data and models into K-16 geoscience education

One of the greatest hurdles to successfully integrating research and education is creating a format that allows complex mathematical models and immense data sets to be understood and manipulated by teachers and students in an educational setting. The University of Minnesota has embarked on a NSF-funded program to develop three- and four-dimensional computer visualizations of these materials that run on relatively low end personal computers. The visualizations are supported by age-appropriate text geared towards national science education standards.

The computer visualizations are set into interactive self-guided student tutorials, but can be also be used as stand-alone classroom illustrations. Almost any quantitative database, such as earthquake locations, tomography, topography, temperature, precipitation or organic productivity can be selected and rendered as virtual three- and four-dimensional images that can manipulated by students. These visualizations allow educators and students to use and explore data that have previously only been available in research settings. Dissemination by CD-ROM allows these visualizations to be used in settings that lack Internet access.

Visualization materials have already been integrated into undergraduate course materials at the University of Minnesota, the AGI/NAGT Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology, as well as AGIote s EarthComm project and K-12 teacher enhancement workshops. Next summer, the University of Minnesota will offer workshops and courses for middle school and high school science educators built around the visualizations.

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