Teachers on the Leading Edge
Teachers on the Leading Edge (TOTLE) is a teacher professional development program featuring Pacific Northwest active continental margin geology and EarthScope science. Through funding from the National Science Foundation EarthScope Project, TOTLE is offering one five-day workshop for 40 K-12 and community college teachers of Earth Science each summer in 2008 through 2010. Three days of classroom and computer-based studies of EarthScope science and active continental margin geology are reinforced by field days investigating Cascadia tsunami geology and Cascade volcanic hazards. The 2008 focused on teachers from Oregon and southwest Washington while the programs in 2009 and 2010 will recruit teachers from Washington State. Through this project, TOTLE is: (1) introducing 120 K-12 and community college teachers of Earth Science to the EarthScope Project; (2) immersing teachers in inquiry-based studies of Pacific Northwest active continental margin geology; (3) coordinating with science educators at UNAVCO, the Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology, and the EarthScope National Office at Oregon State University in developing instructional materials that carry the wonder of EarthScope science nationwide to K-12 learners and the general public; and (4) providing a template for Geoscience educators to build place-based programs that connect EarthScope science with regional geology as USArray steps across the country.
EarthScope is a multidisciplinary geophysical investigation of the history, structure, and deformation of the North American lithosphere. EarthScope USArray and Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) instruments are currently monitoring deformation and seismicity in the Pacific Northwest. Geoscience researchers are using PBO and USArray observations to advance understanding of the active continental margin at “the leading edge” of our continent. As the scientific research progresses, TOTLE principal investigators and master teachers are developing programs to convey the significance and excitement of EarthScope science to K-12 teachers and their students. We are build educational materials that: (1) invite novice learners of Earth Science to geophysical studies of earthquakes, volcanoes, and tectonics; (2) provide access to EarthScope seismic and geodesic observations in an understandable fashion; and (3) demonstrate the significance of EarthScope science to society.
The TOTLE Team
Robert Butler was as a geophysicist and paleomagnetic researcher at the University of Arizona Department of Geosciences until 2004. At the University of Portland, Butler teaches Earth Science courses for nonscience majors, including undergraduate students in the School of Education. His scholarly activities outside of classroom teaching involve professional development for K-12 teachers of Earth Science in the Pacific Northwest with an emphasis on regional geologic hazards .
Beth Pratt-Sitaula holds a split position between Geological Sciences and Science Education at Central Washington University. She researches how climate and tectonics shape the Earth’s surface and works with K-12 teachers/schools in both the US and Nepal to improve science education.
Jill Whitman teaches in Geosciences (Oceanography, Marine Geology, and Geophysics) and Environmental Studies at Pacific Lutheran University. Her research interests include deep sea sedimentation, watersheds, and science education.
Frank Granshaw is a glacial geologist and a geoscience media and curriculum developer, with expertise on building virtual field environments. He teaches Introductory Geology courses at Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus.
Our Master Teachers provide expertise on how a professional development program can promote transfer of new science content knowledge into the context of school learning while preserving the spirit of inquiry practiced by research geologists and making the subject inviting to novices.
Bonnie Magura is a Physical Science teacher at Jackson Middle School who received a National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Award in 2002.
Chris Hedeen has a MS degree in Geology and a MAT degree from Lewis and Clark College. He is a teacher of Earth Science at Oregon City High School and taught the Geology of Oregon course at Lewis and Clark College.
Roger Groom is an Earth Science teacher at Mt Tabor Middle School who served as a UNAVCO Master Teacher in 2006.
Brian Atwater is a paleoseismologist and geomorphologist with the US Geological Survey in Seattle. He has worked on geologic records of great earthquakes and tsunami on the Cascadia subduction zone. This geology takes on a new dimension of relevance in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Brian has been our field guide to the coastal geology of Oregon and Washington;
Richard Blakely is research geophysicist with the US Geological Survey and an expert on applying gravity and magnetic anomaly analysis to geological problems. Rick describes his research as mapping “the landscape under the landscape”. He is well known for communicating geophysics to a wide variety of audiences using cartoons to illustrate principles of geophysics.
Ray Wells is research geologist with the US Geological Survey and Chief of the Pacific Northwest Geologic Mapping and Urban Hazards Project. Ray has over 30 years experience mapping Oregon and Washington Coast Range geology and is an expert on the tectonics of active continental margins.