Teachers & Geoscience Teachers


Update Your Knowledge 



Curriculum Specific


Manuals & Kits

Designed to adapt labs for middle school, high school or collegiate level of instruction.

Laboratory Kits:

Developing and Teaching Spatial Reasoning 

        • Visual Thinking for Engineers                     [MIT Mech. Engineers/YouTube]        3 min
        • OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine - Official Video                  [OK Go/ YouTube] 5:30 min

Game Apps
        • PolyPuzzle    (Android or iPhone)
        • Interlocked    (Android or iPhone)

Professional Organizations




Communicating the Importance of an Earth Science Education

A well-rounded education:  

  • Does your state require Earth Science as a graduation requirement from high school?
  • Does your college require incoming freshmen to have taken Earth Science in high school?   



Understanding Our Audience ... The Teenager



Teaching parents: how to help at home


Sometimes parents don’t know how to help their child become a better student.  Concrete examples of what to look for, monitor, communicate, and follow up on can sometimes be helpful.  The process and personal skills needed for success in “college and career” are crucial - and begin with some of what you’ll find below.

Students who learn to utilize these strageties in their home study can show improvement.  By asking the student (parents asking their children) to show how they have accomplished even the most straightforward of these tasks not only allows for an opportunity for open communication, but also demonstrates the value of these skills in the bigger picture of reaching their long-term goals. 

Teaching students how to communicate effectively and how they can teach themselves to learn, can be the most effective lessons of all.   


Absences hinder academic progress

Bathroom breaks, 'trips' to the nurse, arriving late to instruction - regardless of reason - whether necessary or not, missed instruction adds up and compounds the difficulties of students to achieve higher learning.

Recognize that ‘Study’ is an Action… a verb.


Reading is not studying – reading is reading.  Studying means the student is working with and actively processing the information in such a way that the material can be organized in the student’s brain – eventually the long-term memory, not just the short-term memory.  Study is what happens after  ‘the HW assignments’ are completed.

Studying generally means taking all materials that holds the information (Text Assignments, Powerpoint Notes, Classroom diagrams, handwritten notes, ESRTs, handouts and lab notes, etc.) and compiling the information in a new way – a way that makes the most sense to the student studying.  This takes time.  Learning takes time

Some students create concept maps, study cards, write songs, poems, create dioramas or mini-books to consolidate and organize the information in a new way – paraphrasing and using nuggets along the way.  Most create an original ‘study guide’ that holds the key topics (usually for the next test) and use this method to rework the material.


How do you know you’ve actually studied?

1)       Often, you will develop questions about the material (that’s also how teachers often know who has actually studied, too J)

2)       You can produce the evidence of your study when asked (think of literally handing someone your evidence …).


Managing time effectively


Time is most valuable– there is never enough of it.  Knowing this, we can look ahead and anticipate what we want to accomplish vs. what we need to accomplish in the time available to complete all the tasks required.  This is called planning.  Materials helpful in planning and managing time are the classic visual organizers (calenders, day-planners) … this is why Mrs. McArdle suggests that your required assignment pad be a ‘day-planner’ calendar as well J.


Knowing a ‘deadline’ and recognizing its importance is crucial to success.  This knowledge allows us to work backwards and fit in all the tasks necessary to reach our goal – before the end date arrives.  Students who are able to plan ahead and organize themselves well, can and do regularly meet deadlines.  These are the students who are more successful in achieving their college and career goals.  Think of our classtime - students who regularly submit HW ‘before the late bell’ are students who have successfully achieved this college-and-career skill.  Not only does this skill pay off in during our classtime, but has a positive ripple effect throughout all your classes and goals.  Mom and Dad may ask how well you have been demonstrating this skill so far (or may ask Mrs. McArdle, too J).


1.       Start in each class by copying the HW board each period.  In Earth Science, add further hints and notes for yourself as Mrs. McArdle goes over each assignment with the more in-depth explanations.  Your parents may ask to see this evidence in your assignment pad for each day.  Show them that you are regularly practicing this process skill! J

2.       Begin the assignments that very day.

3.       Create an Overall Plan for assignments in all your classes.  Ask and answer the following questions of yourself:  What HWs are due on what future dates?  How many days does that provide you to complete each assignment well?  For each assignment, how much time will you require to complete the assignment well?  What other obligations do you have that need to be remembered and scheduled (sports, home responsibilities, etc.)? 
4.      On your calendar, schedule a designated time and place to work on each of the assignments – creating tasks for each time so that you can monitor your progress and know where you left off previously.  This is something that Mom and Dad can monitor with you as well and practice improving on.  The skill of communication includes written notes and information shared by way of your planners.




Learning to channel your thoughts = focus


1.       Start out in the kitchen or dining room (preferably while Mom or Dad are making dinner).  They can keep an eye and help to re-focus your attention on your study tasks when/should your mind wander. 

2.       Remove from the room all possible devices that have been proven to actively distract from focus – telephones, cell phones, radio, television, iPods, computers, (i.e. anything of interest J).

3.       Have all your required materials at hand.  This is where your Earth Science Materials Pouch will come in handy - colored pencils, highlighters, graphite pencils, pencil sharpener, ink pens (at least two colors), white-out, small & larger sticky notes, etc.  While these items are not necessary to learn, they can make the act of studying more interesting – as we’ve practiced in HW assignments and classroom lessons.  Remember: the less frequently you ‘have to get up to get something’, the less likely you are to be diverted from your task.
4.       During your study time, switch back and forth in studying different material and different subjects - everything you study is connected.  Look for and identify how they are connected and learning will feel easier. 
5.       Review your Overall Plan.  List on one of your sticky notes the tasks you need to complete in this study session. 

6.       Once each is completed, cross each off your list.  Show this list to Mom and Dad when they ask – and the finished products of your study.



Know thyself


1.       In order to use your study time most effectively, recognize that you may begin to ‘daydream’ or find yourself off-task unless you give your brain a break every 20 minutes or so.  Walk the dog, empty the dishwasher, throw in a wash, grab a refill on your drink … then after about 5 – 10 minutes return to study.  You’ll find that while the ‘breaks’ take time from study, the time you’re putting in will be more effective and efficient.

2.       Studying is not ‘fun’ (sorry J).  Self-disciplined students study more effectively than those who are not as self-disciplined.   Recognizing this, there are ways to learn to focus on study, and improve your own self-discipline.  Work on this plan with your parents, so that they can see how they can actively assist you in your improvement – they want to help!

3.       Remember that your teachers can help you with not just your understanding of science, but your overall organization, time management and study success … take them up on the offer! J