New at Erratics: the challenges of teaching geology in high school

Our newest Earth Science Erratics blogger, Erin Parker, is a teacher at an urban public high school in Wisconsin, who every semester is presented with the task of teaching “150 boisterous students” about earth science. In her first post, she describes an exercise aimed at teaching them about the sequence and tempo of geological history:

Today, I’ve handed out props with rough dates attached, and asked the class to physically arrange themselves in order of appearance in the fossil record- a stuffed black plague microbe stands in for the first life-forms; a plastic Buzz Lightyear represents modern humans…

Head over to find out how they do, and read Erin’s thoughts on the particular challenges of making geology interesting and relevant to students who may only be taking it as a science credit of last resort; something that is going to be a major theme of her posting.

I don’t know the answers, but I am certainly trying to make geology and oceanography come alive for my kids. My contributions to Earth Science Erratics will focus on my challenges and successes connecting students to earth science, and my own occasional sojourns into the realm of field geology.

School is where the vast majority of people get most of all the science education we’re ever going to get, but with the occasional awesome exception, blogging about teaching at this level is far less common than blogging about teaching at Universities. So we’re delighted to welcome Erin to Erratics, and the geoblogosphere, where we can all hear about, and learn from, her experiences. Please go and say hello!

Categories: links, teaching

Comments (2)

  1. Julia says:


    Thanks for the heads-up. As you say, it’s not always that common to find educators blogging about high-school-level earth science. And often, teachers stick to the “edublogosphere” rather than heading out into the subject-specific realm.

  2. Don Strong says:

    Have you contemplated the fact that geology is actually more threatening to young earth believers than is evolution?