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Making connections in the classroom; a survey of new resources for linking earth science and the social sciences (history, law, politics and culture)



Making connections in the classroom; a survey of new resources for linking earth science and the social sciences (history, law, politics and culture)



Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 32(7): 352



Classroom experience has shown that students respond with enthusiasm when exploring connections between earth science and other subjects. Of interest to most students are examples of how human history and institutions have been affected by geological phenomena or of how human activities have impacted the physical environment. New resources that make these kinds of connections are available in the form of films, videos, books, articles, and internet sites. The book "A Civil Action" by Jonathan Harr, the legal account of a multimillion dollar environmental lawsuit, has been developed into an undergraduate hydrology assignment. Students were shown the film adaptation to provide the background to the story and then assigned chapters to read from the book devoted to the trial. Their assignment was to outline all of the hydrologic testimony given and argue a verdict based on the evidence presented and their understanding of basic principles of groundwater flow. In the high school classroom, discussions of coordinate systems and longitude and latitude have been enhanced by the story of John Harrison told in the book "Longitude" by Dava Sobel. Students are fascinated to learn that until the early 1800's the inability to determine longitude cost thousands of lives annually and was a major impediment to global navigation. Supplementing the book are a NOVA documentary ("Lost at Sea") and a recent film re-enactment of the story that can be used in the classroom to stimulate student interest and discussion. Other recent publications that could be used in a similar fashion include "Noah's Flood" by Lamont geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman (catastrophic flooding of the Black Sea), "Rising Tide" by John Barry (an account of how the Mississippi River flood of 1927 changed America's political landscape), "The Perfect Storm" by Sebastian Junger (how weather systems interact to create disasters), and "Water, A Natural History" by Alice Outwater (how human alteration of the landscape in North America has changed the hydrologic cycle in the last 300 years).

Accession: 019365567

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