Overview Partcipants Need Implementation Impact Policy GeoVirginia

Course Descriptions

3 graduate credits


Photo by NASALearn how to use hands-on inquiry-based lessons to teach about the astronomy and space science concepts in the Virginia Standards of Learning for Earth Science (ES 1, 2, 3, 4, 14). Topics include the night sky, seasons, tides, and eclipses; a characterization of the planets and other bodies in the solar system, the life cycles of the Sun and stars, the origin and evolution of the Universe, and the history of space exploration. Participants will learn to use the Starry Night planetarium program to simulate important concepts that engage students in the study of the day/night cycle, seasons, and the phases of the Moon. Additional topics will be covered using a StarlabTM inflatable planetarium, Project Star hands-on materials, evening observations with telescopes and exhibits. Lunches and instructional materials will be provided, including a textbook, a copy of Starry Night, and Project Star materials for your classroom.  


Physical Geology
4 graduate credits


As an introduction to the Earth Sciences, participants will learn about the formation and composition of Earth materials, processes that shape the Earth, and the nature of Earth Science. Concepts in the course include the identification and properties of rocks and rock-forming minerals, processes leading to the formation and alteration of earth materials through weathering, erosion, deposition, metamorphism, melting, crystallization, geomorphological relationships to these materials and processes, and how these materials and features develop through time. Concepts and activities will be unified through an introduction to plate tectonic processes including plate margins, paleomagnetism, and related hazards. Field experiences, hands-on/minds-on activities, and engaging interactive lectures/discussions are standard for this course. Concepts are related to Virginia's Standards of Learning for Earth Science (ES 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10). Instructional text, materials, and field trip expenses are provided. This course, or an equivalent course, is a prerequisite to Geology II: Geology of Virginia.


Geology of Virginia
4 graduate credits


Physical Geology or a comparable course is a prerequisite for this course. Expand and extend your knowledge of geology through a study of the geology and geologic history of Virginia with an emphasis on its various physiographic provinces and their development in terms of plate tectonics. Learn more about structural geology, fossils, geologic time, resources of Virginia, and plate tectonics through interactive lectures/discussions, hands-on labs, other inquiry activities, and field experiences. Participants will engage in local and regional field studies (including one multi-day topographic field trip), identify sediments, rocks and fossils, interpret field sites, topographic and geologic maps, and develop field guides. Concepts are related to Virginia's Standards of Learning for Earth Science (ES 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10). Textbook, instructional materials and field trip expenses provided.


GeoVirginia: Creating Virtual Field Trips
40 recertification points


Virginia geology is a major part of the Earth Science curriculum yet many students have not traveled outside their immediate area.  Engage your students through virtual field trips and have them create and post a virtual trip of the geology of their area, school, or other buildings.  Participants will learn to access a Goggle-based map and to use a simple web-based system to build a virtual field trip page.  After completing the initial training, you will receive a digital camera with video capabilities and a variety of geologic resources including print and digital maps, books, pamphlets and CD-ROMS. After completing your own page, your school will receive two additional cameras and sets of geologic materials.  All participants must teach earth science at the middle or high school level and commit to having their students make web pages focused on their area.  Participants will have opportunities for real-time discussions and dynamic interactions using two computer-based – Elluminate Live! And Moodle.  System requirements are Windows 98/ME/2000/XP or Mac OS 9.2, Mac OS x 10.2.8/10.3.9/10.4 and an internet connection.



Integrating New Technologies in the Earth Sciences: A Web-Based Class


Engage your students in the technologies used by Earth Science professionals and increase their understanding of concepts through real world examples.  Major topics include remote sensing and image processing, real time and real-world data, computer simulations and 3-D modeling, GPS and GIS, graphing calculator-based labs, and web-based collaborative projects.  Participants will receive CD-ROMS, a CBL-2, sensors and lab book.  GPS units and digital cameras are available for loan.  This course is a distance learning course with two face-to-face meetings.  The content is divided into four modules that cover skills, educational examples, research examples, applications, and institutional effectiveness, as well as a collaborative project.  



3 graduate credits


Concepts include the Earth's heat budget and global wind patterns, weather vs. climate, radiation, convection, cloud formation, the hydrologic cycle, vertical structure of the atmosphere, orographic effects on weather, severe weather, the influence of life (microbial, human) and geologic processes on atmospheric composition and temperature through geologic times, comparison of the atmospheres of Earth, Mars, and Venus. The majority of this course will be through the Internet, with participants meeting for several face-to-face sessions during the course. Participants will utilize real-time and near real-time data, engage in hands-on activities, and interact with weather professionals. The course will feature applications of experimental design to meteorology and an examination of current understandings of climate change and how these understandings reveal the nature of the scientific enterprise and scientific knowledge. Concepts are related to Virginia's Standards of Learning for Earth Science (ES 1, 3, 9, 11, 12, 13). Textbook and instructional materials provided.



4 graduate credits


See how the disciplines of geology, chemistry, physics and biology are integrated in the study of the oceans. Through a blend of lecture, lab and field experiences learn about the tectonic evolution of the ocean basins, hypsography of the sea floor, heat capacity of the oceans and influence on maritime climates, waves, tides, influence of winds on surface currents, upwelling, relationships between sea level change and climate and tectonic changes, influence of temperature and salinity and density and deep water circulation, coastal geology, marine ecosystems, controls on marine sedimentation, microfossils and ancient oceans, and marine resources. Hands-on and computer-simulated labs and an intense 3-day sea and shore-based experience at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences Field Station on the Eastern Shore will provide you with effective strategies, self-collected samples and datasets, and the scientific foundation to teach oceanography concepts even in landlocked classrooms. Concepts addressed in this course are related to Virginia's Standards of Learning for Earth Science (ES 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13). Textbook, instructional materials, and field trip expenses are provided.



Teaching Earth Science Topics to Special Education Students


If you are a special education teacher or an earth science teacher that works in a classroom, then join us to expand your ability to work effectively with special needs students.  Increase your earth science content knowledge by experiencing a variety of hands-on computer-based activities related to Virginia’s Standard of Learning for Earth Science.  Learn appropriate differentiation strategies for various special education students, slow learners, and poor readers.


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