February 4, 2013 by Dr. G
This is my first trip of many that I will be making to the Penn State University Park (UP) campus in 2013. When I visit UP, I try to pack in as many meetings as I can in one day. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave me much (if any) time to visit and reconnect with students that started at Penn State Brandywine that are now at UP, or my other friends/colleagues from across the campus and departments. If only I didn’t have classes to teach and worry about back at the Brandywine campus, I could stay longer! 😉
So for this trip, I spent the morning with the Department of Geosciences in the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences. Dr. Lee Kump is the new department chair, and he and I had not yet had a chance to sit down and get to know each other better. As approximately half of the College of EMS students come from outside of the UP campus, it is important for me to be on top of the UP programs and requirements so I can properly advise my students for their intended major they will be finishing at UP. I was able to see the new office set up in the department for faculty like myself visiting from a campus so we can have a “home” at UP, and I even got to attend the department’s Monday morning coffee and doughnut hour. It was great to spend some time with geologists in a geoscience department!
The afternoon was spent with the “Tectonics Workshop Team.” As part of one of the National Science Foundation grants where I am a co-principal investigator, we are teaching a series of summer workshops for middle school Earth and space science teachers in Pennsylvania. This summer, I am a co-instructor on the Plate Tectonics workshop along with Dr. Eric Kirby and graduate student Megan Pickard of UP-Geosciences. This was our first of many meeting where we will plan the week-long summer workshop taking place at Penn State Brandywine. As part of our grant, we are helping these middle school teachers with pedagogical approaches, such as Claim-Evidence-Reasoning (CER) and content storyline, while ensuring they have a good foundation in the science of plate tectonics.
We decided we are going to use parts of John McPhee’s book The Control of Nature and David Montgomery’s Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations as a summer read for the teachers, in addition to having them watch some online videos from the Earth Revealed series by Annenberg. We are thinking of adding in some virtual fieldtrips and a focus on the Grand Canyon. Overall, our team, led by Dr. Tanya Furman (Geosciences and grant principal investigator), is an excellent team that I am excited to work with. Our next meeting will be in February, but we each have our “homework” to do before then!