Next Generation Science Standards
I was Chair of the Earth and Space Science (ESS) Writing Team that wrote the K-12 national standards that are in the process of being adopted by states across the country. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) represent a remarkable advance for K-12 geoscience education, including requiring a year's worth of Earth and space science in high school as well as in middle school. In a significant departure from existing state science standards, the NGSS require a year of high school physical science (chemistry and physics combined), a year of life science, and a full year of Earth and space science. As a member of the NGSS Leadership Team I was one of the lead architects of the entire NGSS project. As Chair of the ESS Writing Team, I was a principal advocate and author for the geoscience content, making sure that the elevated role for ESS within secondary education that was established by the NRC report, "A Framework for K-12 Science Education," was carried over into the NGSS.
The NGSS represent a revolutionary advancement for ESS education not only because of the establishment of a full year of ESS content in high school. The structure of the NGSS moves away from rote memorization of science content toward a more dynamic and active practice-based approach to student learning, with the standards written as an interweaving of three different dimensions: 1) science and engineering practices, 2) scientific disciplinary core ideas, and 3) the crosscutting concepts of science. Each of the performance expectations involves one of 8 science and engineering practices, many of which involve students working with real data and evidence. This aligns very well with geoscience research practices, which are largely data and observation driven. In addition, the connected crosscutting concepts, which are largely systems oriented, align well with the modern Earth Systems Science approach to teaching the complex feedbacks and interactions between Earth's systems.
The writing of the NGSS was done with the cooperation of the majority of U.S. states and supervised by the states-run organization Achieve. I continue to work with Achieve and the adopting states as a lead advocate for the geosciences, and this role has extended internationally, giving many presentation in person or by Skype about modernizing K-12 Geoscience curricula. So far, 11 states and the District of Columbia have formally adopted the NGSS, and at least twenty more states are in the process of adoption. In the near future, for the first time in this nation's history, the majority of students going to college will have had a year of complex, practice-based, systems-focused, data-oriented, and mathematically rigorous high school Earth and space science.
The standards can be found at
National Research Council: Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards
I was Chair of the Earth and Space Science Design Team for the National Academy's National Research Council report that established the framework from which the Next Generation Science Standards were written. This Framework was based on current research in both science and science education, and defined the three dimensions of science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. My role was to assemble and Chair the committee that constructed the Earth and space science content, broken out by grade bands, that all Americans should understand through new NGSS-aligned curricula.
The document can be found at the
Earth Science Literacy Initiative
I am Co-Chair of the NSF-sponsored Earth Science Literacy Initiative, which created the geoscience literacy framework, the Earth Science Literacy Principles (ESLPs). The ESLPs consist of 9 Big Ideas and 75 Supporting Concepts that define the essential understandings of Earth science. As part of the processc we organized a 12-person organizing committee that ran a 2-week online workshop for 350 participants, ran an in-person writing workshop of 35 people, and supervised the finalization, construction, publishing, and dissemination of the ESLPs. This literacy framework has been used in many educational settings, forming the foundation for textbooks, curricula, educational proposal RFPs, as well as having more than 100,000 copies distributed in classrooms, museums, and national and state parks around the world. Most importantly, it provided the basis for the geoscience content that informed the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education, which, in turn, informed the Next Generation Science Standards. I continue to maintain the Earth Science Literacy website, which also houses a set of educational videos that accompany the ESLPs, produced by the American Geoscience Institute. In the past 5 years, I have given more than 75 public lectures (to teachers, museums, and other informal education venues) on a range of geoscience literacy topics that include natural hazards, natural resources, human impacts, and climate change, informed by the ESLPs.
More information can be found at the web site for the
EARTH SCIENCE LITERACY INITIATIVE.
IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology)
Founded in 1984 with support from the National Science Foundation, IRIS is a consortium of over 100 US universities dedicated to the operation of science facilities for the acquisition, management, and distribution of seismological data. IRIS programs contribute to scholarly research, education, earthquake hazard mitigation, and verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
I am currently on the Board of Directors for IRIS, and have served IRIS on a variety of committees, including the Executive Committee, for the past 17 years. Most notably, I was Chair of the Education and Outreach Committee during 2005-2010, where I helped implement the development and dissemination of many educational products such as the Seismographs in Schools, SeisMac, museum-based seismograph displays, the Rapid Earthquake Viewer, and the earthquake Teachable Moments. I helped to write two of the IRIS 5-year proposals, including editing the 2005 "1-Pagers" document, and also wrote the deep-Earth portions of the EarthScope 2010-2020 Science Plan and the Seismological Grand Challenges document.
For more information, go to
I was one of the 2005 IRIS/SSA Distinguished Lecturers. I gave presentations about earthquakes and geophysics at a dozen locations around the country.
For a description of my experience, see the
For a copy of one of these lectures, download the
IRIS/SSA PowerPoint Lecture.
(You will also need the files containing the
IRIS 5-YEAR PROPOSAL
I edited the IRIS Accomplishments Section (217 pp) for the 2005 IRIS NSF Proposal (also known as the "1-Pagers", and wrote the
The 2005 IRIS 1-Pagers are available
or as part of a
SINGLE PDF FILE.
Geophysical Research Letters
I am currently an editor of the American Geophysical Union's journal, Geophysical Research Letters, and have also been an associate editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research, Eos, and Computational Seismology. I was Chair of the AGU Studies of the Earth's Deep Interior committee, and
have organized many sessions at AGU meetings.
More about GRL can be found at
Geophysical Research Letters.
Long-Range Science Plan for Seismology
THe National Science Foundation sponsored a Long-Range Science Plan for Seismology that laid out
a plan for the future of seismology over the following decade. I was a coauthor, concentrating
on the deep-earth components.
The full document "Seismological Grand Challenges in Understanding Earth's
Dynamic Systems" can be downloaded here.
EarthScope Science Plan for 2010-2020
A panel was put together to map out a plan for the science to be down with the EarthScope
instrumentation during the Operations and Management phase of the project. I was a coauthor,
focusing on the deep-earth applications of the EarthScope program.
The full "Unlocking the Secrets of the North American Continent: Science Plan for 2010-2020" can be
CIG (Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics)
Computational Infrastructure for Geodynamics (CIG) is a membership-governed organization that supports and promotes Earth science by developing and maintaining software for computational geophysics and related fields.
I was one of the original writers for the proposal that created the program, and am currently on the Computational Seismology Steering Committee for CIG. For a description of this program, go to the
CIG Web Site.
On The Cutting Edge
I am a co-PI for On The Cutting Edge (OTCE), which is a comprehensive, discipline-wide professional development program for current and future geoscience faculty that offers an integrated workshop series, a website with topical collections of teaching resources, and a leadership development program. It aims to develop a geoscience professoriate committed to high-quality instruction based on currency in scientific knowledge, good pedagogic practice, and research on learning with the ultimate goal of improving student learning. I have run a variety of geoscience professional development workshops (in-person, online, hybrid, content-based, early career, etc.) that expose university faculty to current progressive ideas in classroom pedagogy. I have also worked to help maintain a database on the SERC website of geophysical classroom activities, digital demonstrations, and visualization to help provide the geophysical community with a reliable, high-quality, peer-reviewed set of digital educational materials.
Resources from these and many other
workshops can be found at
On the Cutting Edge.
NSTA (National Science Teachers Association)
I regularly attend NSTA meetings and other high school science workshops and help to train teachers how to teach earth science in the middle and high schools. For more on the NSTA, see their
Here are some sample Powerpoint lectures I have presented at NSTA Conferences and similar locales:
Fall, 2008 (Charlotte, Portland, Cincinnati) - The Future of Energy Sources
Spring, 2008 (Boston) - Civilization Exists by Geologic Consent
Spring, 2007 (St. Louis) - Earthquake Hazards Along the New Madrid Fault: Using Science to Distinguish Fact from Fiction
Spring, 2007 (St. Louis) - Earthquake Prediction and Forecasting
Spring, 2007 (St. Louis) - Using Seismic Refraction to Investigate Earth's Surface
Spring, 2007 (St. Louis) - Using Data from EarthScope
Fall, 2006 (CSTA - San Francisco) - Why California Won't Ever Get 'THE BIG ONE,' but Seattle Will! - Lessons Learned From Studying Earthquakes and Plate Tectonics
Fall, 2005 (Chicago, Hartford, Nashville) - Convection in the Atmosphere, Ocean and Earth's Interior
Spring, 2005 (Dallas) - Shake and Bake: Teaching About Earthquakes and Volcanoes in High School
NASA Course on "Earth, Moon, and Mars"
I constructed and teach a 3-day course on the geology of the solar system to NASA employees at different NASA centers, as part of the NASA APPEL education program. Though NASA engineers build vehicles that have to survive on different planetary surfaces, they have never had any formal education through NASA on the geology of these planets and moon. The course, the only one of its kind, gives NASA engineers a background in Earth-based geology and in how this is modified in different planetary scenarios. The focus is on the geology of the moon and Mars, but other planetary objects are also studied. The course has been taught 13 times so far, at NASA JPL, KSC, GSFC, MSFC, JSC, and LRC.
For a description of the course, go to
Earth, Moon, and Mars.
Here are some radio/TV clips on earthquakes and earthquake hazards:
Go here for a youtube interview (March, 2011) with the St. Louis Science Center concerning the March 11 Japan earthquake.
A radio interview (Apr 22, 2008) with the Kansas City NPR station KCUR on earthquakes.
A radio interview (Apr 22, 2008) with KMOX's Charlie Brennan on the seismic hazards in Missouri and Illinois.
A Channel 2 TV News Video clip (Apr 21, 2008) on midwestern earthquakes.
A radio interview (July, 2007) with KMOX on the seismic hazards in St. Louis.