PAESTA Conference 2012 Schedule

Friday, October 12, 2012
6:00 - 8:00PM Screening of Switch: To A Smarter Energy Future Tomezsko 103

Saturday, October 13, 2012
Time \ Room   Tomezsko 101 Tomezsko 209 Tomezsko 203
9:00 - 10:15 AM Welcome and Keynote
10:15 - 11:00 AM Collaborative Approach to Developing Earth System Science Resources Through PAESTA
11:00 - Noon   Claim, Evidence, Reasoning: Helping Students to Construct Scientific Explanations The iPad as an Instructional Tool Importance of Efficiency in Energy Conversion
Noon - 12:45 PM LUNCH
PAESTA Website
12:45 - 1:45 PM   A Cemetery as a Site for Multidisciplinary Teaching Publishing Your Curricular Innovations Through PAESTA and Professional Journals

Teaching Earth Science Concepts in Meaningful Ways: Understanding Middle and High School Student's Ideas
Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds
1:45 - 2:00 PM Break
2:00 - 3:00 PM   A New Slant on Acid/Base Chemistry: The Influence of Carbon Dioxide on the Chemistry of the Oceans

Young Children's Ideas About Earth's Surface and Changes
Introduction to Google Apps High, dry and really flat: Field notes from the Tibetan Plateau
3:00 - 3:15 PM Survey and Closing Remarks
3:15 - 3:30 PM Raffle and Free Cycle

Conference Abstracts


Heather Houlton, Outreach Coordinator at the American Geosciences Institute Workforce Program

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Collaborative Approach to Developing Earth System Science Resources Through PAESTA

Jenny Hoffman (The Agnes Irwin School) and Kelly Hunter (Snyder-Girotti Middle School)

You will work collaboratively within a small group to create new model for ongoing professional development.  Using a set of standards from across disciplines, you and your team will craft an initial structure for an online community centered on an Earth Systems topic of current interest  -- a place where you can learn about the topic, contribute activity resources, and find inspiration for your teaching.  This resource, housed on the PAESTA website, will aid your inclusion of STEM careers, non-fiction reading, current events, while ensuring academic standards are met. 

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Claim, Evidence, Reasoning: Helping Students to Construct Scientific Explanations

Lauren Beal (AMY Northwest Middle School)

Scientific explanations are an integral part of middle school science.  Through the process of constructing scientific explanations, students practice logical reasoning, use evidence to support their claims, and consider and critique alternative explanations.  In this session, participants will explore the components of Katherine McNeill and Joseph Krajcik's Claim, Evidence and Reasoning framework and practice using this instructional strategy.  Participants will examine student work samples and discuss strategies for incorporating the CER framework in their science classrooms. 

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The iPad as an Instructional Tool

Laura Guertin (Penn State Brandywine) and Matthew Bodek (Penn State Brandywine)

In its third quarter of 2012, Apple announced it sold twice as many iPads as Macs for use in educational environments.  Many apps and iBooks are being developed for the iPad, but which ones are of the best quality, and how can they be used in the classroom?  This interactive session will allow teachers to explore iPads with downloaded Earth and space science materials, along with a discussion on how to find these materials and use them for classroom instruction.


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Importance of Efficiency in Energy Conversion

Caroline Burgess Clifford (Penn State University Park) and Meredith Hill Bembenic (Penn State University Park)

Modern power production technologies involve a number of fundamental energy transfer processes.  For example, a power plant that produces electricity has these very general steps:  pulverized coal is burned to generate steam, and the steam turns a turbine and generator to produce electricity. This process generally demonstrates the conversion of chemical and potential energy into mechanical and/or heat energy followed by another conversion into electrical energy. Each step of an overall power production process contributes to its overall combined efficiency. The goal of energy conservation is to achieve maximum energy efficiency and balance inevitable economic and societal efficiencies. An ideal efficiency concept exists but 100% efficiency is impossible. We will explore the idea of energy efficiency and beyond by also considering the associated economic and societal efficiencies.

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Updating the PAESTA Website

Eric Aitala (Penn State University Park)

This session will cover the recent migration of the PAESTA website from WordPress to Drupal, what additions and changes have been made, and what future improvements are now possible. This will include a quick run through of the site including the Common Read and Digital Library section, the Image Galleries, and the Forums. Also, we are interested in feedback from the PAESTA members on how the website could provide resources for the community, improve collaboration and communication within PAESTA, and bring more members to the community.

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A Cemetery as a Site for Multidisciplinary Teaching

Theresa-Lewis King (AMY Northwest Middle School) and Eileen Fresta (Penn State Brandywine)

Cemeteries are excellent sites where students can engage in a variety of multidisciplinary inquiry-based activities.  There are a large number of established cemeteries, and the ease of which to enter and explore cemeteries makes these locations ideal for local to national scale investigations.  A cemetery records information pertaining to local history through the tombstones.  These historic artifacts, which have varied in size and style through time, record names, dates of birth and death, symbols, and epitaphs.  Tombstones are also composed of different rock types.  Students may investigate the weathering rate of different tombstone rock compositions through time.  Students interested in human and medical geography may be interested in establishing patterns of human survivorship and defining events that would cause a sudden loss of many lives.  Local climate history may be determined from the weathering rates of the different tombstones.  Additional disciplines may be connected with tombstone investigations, such as art, history, and gender and ethnic studies.  Students can document the style and symbolism on tombstones by location and through time to look for trends.  Students may search through town records to learn the local, historic significance of who is buried in a cemetery.  Students may learn of variations as to how women are referred to on a tombstone versus men through the epitaphs, and the differences between cemeteries that were established for a specific population.  This session will be held in Cumberland Cemetery, and will review specific studies conducted in this cemetery, such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) to look for unmarked grave sites. 




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Publishing Your Curricular Innovations Through PAESTA and Professional Journals

Tanya Furman (Penn State University Park)

Instructors work hard to provide innovative and effective learning experiences for their students.  An important component for the professional development of classroom teachers is not just the creation of new materials but the sharing of those materials to the greater Earth science community.  This session will discuss the importance of disseminating curricular materials and review avenues and strategies for doing so.  Participants will review materials online at the PAESTA website and be shown how to submit their lessons for sharing through PAESTA.  In addition, session attendees will review and be able to take home sample journal issues of The Earth Scientist (NESTA), In The Trenches (NAGT), and Science Scope (NSTA).  The session will be led by educators/scientists that have published in these journals, and they will share their experiences with manuscript preparation, editorial review, and final publication.



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Teaching Earth Science Concepts in Meaningful Ways: Understanding Middle and High School Student's Ideas

Stephanie Preston (Penn State University Park) and Peter Licona (Penn State University Park)

The Earth Space Science Partnership (ESSP) has conducted interviews with middle grade and high school students throughout the state of Pennsylvania about their ideas on mountains, earthquakes, and volcanoes.  The goal of this presentation is to present findings from the ESSP work with the intent to inform teachers of what thoughts middle grade and high school students have about these concepts so that we can begin a conversation around meaningful ways of teaching them.

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Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds

Christopher Palma (Penn State University Park)

I will present an update on some of the latest results on the search for and discovery of exoplanets – planets found orbiting other stars. In particular I will focus on some of the work being done by astronomers from the "Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds" based at Penn State. The presentation will end with a short demonstration of some ways to get access to the latest data on these planets and how your students might explore these new discoveries.

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A New Slant on Acid/Base Chemistry: The Influence of Carbon Dioxide on the Chemistry of the Oceans (a Demonstration)

Donna Reinhart (Cheltenham High School)

Twenty science teachers converged at a MBARI (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) conference in Alaska in the summer of 2011 to learn about Ocean Observatories and Gulf of Alaska research.  Each teacher focused on a specific sub-topic in an attempt to provide teacher friendly lesson plans that would span the K-12 spectrum of classes.  I chose to study the relationship between CO2 absorption and pH change through series of lab experiments that are appropriate for middle school or high school students.

These lessons easily fit into a chemistry curriculum when studying acid/base chemistry or in a marine science curriculum when studying ecosystems and the effects of changing climate on ocean water.  Typically, students learn about acids, bases and buffering systems while doing titrations.  However, this set of experiments teaches some of the same chemical concepts to the ongoing problem of excess carbon dioxide in the environment and changing pH.  

The key concepts that were explained through lab experiments were the following: (1) pH is a measure of hydrogen ion concentration; (2) Indicators give an indication of the degree of acidity of a substance; (3) Gases are more soluble in cold water than in hot water (4) When carbon dioxide is added to both salt water and fresh water, the pH is lowered (5) Seawater has a great buffering capacity; (6) We may be stretching the buffering capacity of the ocean to its limits with our increased production of carbon dioxide.

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Young Children's Ideas About Earth's Surface and Changes

Deborah Smith (Penn State University Park)

What do young children think about mountains, valleys, rivers, and rocks? Where do they think they come from? How do they think they change over time? Come find out about children's own ideas, the conceptual content recommended in the National Research Council's Framework for K-12 Science Education, and how we might help children make sense of Earth features and changes.

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Introduction to Google Apps

Eric Aitala (Penn State University Park)

Many K12 schools and Higher Ed institutions are utilizing Google Apps - documents, email, calendar and hangouts - for their student's and faculty/staff member's education, collaboration, and communication needs. This session will provide a brief overview and demonstration of the services offered by Google and how they might be used in education by students and teachers.

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High, dry and really flat: Field notes from the Tibetan Plateau

Eric Kirby (Penn State University Park)

Ongoing continental collision between the Indian Subcontinent and the landmass of Asia has generated the world's highest plateau.  The growth of this topography is thought to have influenced global climate through both perturbations to atmospheric circulation and changes in long-term global geochemical cycles.  However, understanding the evolution of topography throughout the collision zone is made challenging by the remote and rugged terrain, the difficulties of finding and interpreting geologic records of mountain uplift, and the vast size of the plateau itself.  In this presentation, I will provide a brief summary of what is presently known about the interaction between tectonics, erosion, and climate in Asia, as well as provide a perspective on the challenges of field work in this region.