K-12 Education

A national-scale CZO education and outreach effort has begun.

The CZOs participate in a variety of organizational forums to develop a focused and effective education and outreach presence.  

Anthony Aufdenkampe, Susan Gill (Stroud Water Research Center, Christina River Basin CZO), Douglas Jerolmack (University of Pennsylvania, Luquillo CZO) and Timothy White (CZO national coordinator) engage U.S. Represenative Chaka Fattah during his visit to the CZO booth at the 2011 STEM conference in Philadelphia.

Educational Resources (examples for K-12)

  • Grades 3 - 8

    Grass, Rabbits, and Wolves-- Oh My!

    Biology/Ecology

    Activity

    Preview

    Sierra

  • × Cows grazing

    Grades 3 - 8

    Grass, Rabbits, and Wolves-- Oh My!

    Biology/Ecology

    Activity

    Understand food chains and ecosystem interactions and predict how changes in species functions and interactions can impact the system.

    Educational Objectives

    By the end of this activity, students will be able to:

    • Explain the concepts of predators, prey, food chains, and food webs in an ecosystem.
    • Use a computer model
    Visit this resource (pdf)

    See CZO listing


    NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns • Cause and Effect - Mechanism and Explanation • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity • Systems and System Models • Energy and Matter - Flows, Cycles, and Conservation • Stability and Change

    NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations • Analyzing and Interpreting Data • Developing and Using Models • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: PS3 - Energy • LS1 - From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes • LS2 - Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics • LS4 - Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity • ESS2 - Earth’s Systems • ETS1 - Engineering Design


    Audience: K-12

    Observatory: Sierra CZO

    Author: Michelle Gilmore (UC Merced) and Lynn Sullivan (UC Merced)


    Funding: Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory

  • Grades 6 - 8

    Journey to El Yunque: Ecosystem stress and species response

    Biology/Ecology

    Website & Assessment

    Preview

    Luquillo

  • × Cute, orange frog sits on green leaves.  Eleutherodactylus portoricensis in El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico. Photo Credit: Wilfredo Falcón on Flickr, License CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

    Grades 6 - 8

    Journey to El Yunque: Ecosystem stress and species response

    Biology/Ecology

    Website • Assessment

    Visit the El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico through this interactive module to discover how hurricanes affect the producers, consumers, and the flow of resources in the forest. See how ecosystems respond in many ways to large-scale environmental events.

    Educational Objectives

    • Describe and explain how hurricanes effect the Critical Zone and the production of Critical Zone services.
    • Predict how changes in hurricane frequency or intensity impact the Critical Zone and the life within it.
    Visit this resource (flash)

    See CZO listing


    NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Systems and System Models • Energy and Matter - Flows, Cycles, and Conservation • Stability and Change

    NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Analyzing and Interpreting Data • Developing and Using Models • Engaging in Argument from Evidence • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

    NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2 - Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics


    Audience: K-12

    Observatory: Luquillo CZO

    Author: Steven McGee (The Learning Partnership) & Jess Zimmerman (LUQ-LTER)


    Funding: NSF EHR and US Dept of Ed

  • Grades 6 - 12

    What is leaching?

    Hydrology +

    Information

    Preview

    National

  • × Illustration of water moving through vegetation and into and through the soil and rock.

    Grades 6 - 12

    What is leaching?

    Hydrology • SoilScience/Pedology

    Information

    This blog post covers the topic of leaching, the process in which water carries soluble substances or small particles through soil or rock.

    Educational Objectives

    Readers will be able to describe the process of leaching, its function, and the effect it has on the structure of the Critical Zone.

    Visit this resource

    See CZO listing


    Audience: K-12 • General Public

    Observatory: National CZO

    Author: Justin Richardson (UMass)


  • Grades K - Professional

    Mt. Lemmon science tour app

    All Disciplines

    App & Tour

    Preview

    Catalina-Jemez

  • × A view from Mt. Lemmon.  Two hikers stand on a rock outcrop and look down onto the steep valleys below.

    Grades K - Professional

    Mt. Lemmon science tour app

    All Disciplines

    App • Tour

    Use a narrative "science tour" app for the drive up Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. Travel from desert to pine forest, listening to the audio guide and watching slideshows and videos. Learn how our world is sustained by natural environments, systems, and cycles.

    Educational Objectives

    Describe the natural history of Mt. Lemmon with special attention to geology and biology. The tour follows the Catalina Highway to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

    Visit this resource

    See CZO listing


    Audience: K-12 • General Public • Higher Education • Research Community

    Observatory: Catalina-Jemez CZO

    Author: Producer: Shipherd Reed (Univ. of Arizona)

    Funding: NSF CZO, Contributions from UA College of Science and other regional organizations

See more K-12 resources >


Example activities

Outlined below are key examples of educational activities coordinated by the CZO National Office to engage K-12 teachers or administrators overseeing K-12 funding programs.

Many additional K-12 E/O activities are run by the CZO program, mostly led by individual Observatories.  To see examples of those per-CZO efforts,  select an observatory from the “Move laterally” menu above.”

AGI Earth Science Week

CZO researchers cooperated with the American Geosciences Institute's Earth Science Week since 2013, providing "hands on" learning exercises that are sent to more than 16,000 teachers nationwide.The CZO National Office intends for this cooperation to continue on an annual basis. More information is available in a 2014 News story and a 2015 News story (African Dust feeds the Puerto Rico ecosystem).  

AGI hands-on learning exercises:

CZO REU/RET program

Tim White, as national coordinator, and Susan Gill, Stroud Water Research Center education director, developed a successful Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program that places 2 secondary education teachers each at the Christina River Basin and Shale Hills CZOs during the summers of 2014 through 2016.

2016

RET, Lauren Smith, lead a secondary teachers workshop at Penn State University on the use of Virtual Field Experiences in a classroom. Smith led 10 participants in a lecture and series of discussions followed by a guided afternoon tour of the Shale Hills CZO by Tim White and Dave Eissenstat (PSU). The workshop concluded with an aquatic invertebrate exercise using Stroud Water Research Center's Leaf Pack Experiment Kit

2015

A CZO Science Teaching Workshop, organized by two RETs and National Office collaborator Don Duggan-Haas, was held in State College, PA to provide K-12 teachers an introduction to CZ science through the creation and use of Virtual Fieldwork Experiences (VFEs).

RET Sharon Dykhoff developed a hydrology learning unit available through the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) entitled "The Case of the Muddy Water: Using Authentic Data to Investigate Impacts of Hydrofracturing." The objective of this lesson is to introduce the potential impacts of natural gas extraction through data analysis.

2014

Two teachers developed learning exercises and presented the results of their summer experience at the Pennsylvania State Teachers Association meeting in State College, PA on December 8, 2014.

REU/RET hands-on learning exercises:
Ground Penetrating Radar - Monitoring Soil Moisture (1 MB docx) 
Carbon Storage Measurements in Forests (1 MB docx)

Paul Longwell (Hollidaysburg Area School District, PA) and Mark Yeckley (Glendale School District, PA), 2014 summer RETs at the Shale Hills CZO, present the results of their summer experience at the PA State Teachers Association meeting in State College, December 2014.

On-line Critical Zone Course

Tim White developed an on-line open-source course entitled 'Earth Surface Processes in the Critical Zone'. The course is formally offered through The Pennsylvania State University's Masters of Education in Earth Sciences program and aims to educate middle and high school teachers interested in incorporating Critical Zone science into their classroom curriculum.  Course Home Page

GSA Short Course

As national coordinator, Tim White taught a short course entitled "Introduction to Critical Zone Science and Observatories" at the 125th anniversary meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver in October 2013, a course that will be offered again at the GSA meeting in Vancouver, B.C., Canada in October 2014. CZO News Article

Earthscope Talk

The CZO national coordinator traveled to Arizona State University during February 2012 to the Education and Outreach summit organized by Earthscope, presenting a short talk on CZO efforts and engaging colleagues from a variety of NSF-sponsored science initiatives to learn and share.  Earthscope blog

STEM Conference

CZOs were included in the NSF-sponsored national Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) best practices conference at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA on September 16, 2011, displaying large format posters, a stream table, and various on-line educational opportunities associated with the CZOs.  CZO News Article

Paul Longwell (Hollidaysburg Area School District, PA) and Mark Yeckley (Glendale School District, PA), 2014 summer RETs at the Shale Hills CZO, present the results of their summer experience at the PA State Teachers Association meeting in State College, December 2014.

Siobhan Donnelly (Centre Learning Community Charter School, PA) explains the Critical Zone concept. 

Participants sorted and collected data on invertebrates from nearby Shaver's Creek and Garner Run sites. 


Associated Files

AGI 2018
(639 KB pdf)
Notice & Wonder: Foundation for Scientific Inquiry in the Critical Zone

AGI 2017
(264 KB pdf)
Gulf of Mexico Hypoxia (Dead) Zone

AGI2016
(441 KB pdf)
The Past, Present & Future of the Valles Caldera

AGI2015
(1 MB pdf)
The Influence of Dry Deserts on Tropical Rain Forests

AGI2015 - supplement
(2 MB pdf)
Supplement - The Influence of Dry Deserts on Tropical Rain Forests. African_Dust_Supplementary

AGI2015 - excel dataset
(534 KB xlsx)
Excel dataset - The Influence of Dry Deserts on Tropical Rain Forests. Rain_chemistry_data_AGI

AGI2014
(1 MB pdf)
Water resources management simulation

ESWcalendar2014
(651 KB pdf)
Paleoclimate influence on landscape evolution

AGI2013
(4 MB pdf)
LiDAR exercise for high school classrooms

RET2014-1
(1 MB docx)
Ground penetrating radar - monitoring soil moisture

RET2014-2
(1 MB docx)
Carbon storage measurements in forests



Events

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