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Incorporating Geoscience Research into the Regents Earth Science ClassroomBy: Victoria H. Kramer, CPG - 9712, East Northport Middle School, East Northport, New York 11731Mel Morris, Program Manager, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973Bill Dorsch, Mentor, Groundwater Protection Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973


My experience with the DOE ACTS program has provided me with the opportunity to enhance my pedagogical style by identifying more hands on activities for my classroom. It is important for me to convey to my students the value of learning science in our everyday life through life experiences, especially in our outdoor environment. I can see how the activities I have been involved with this summer can be very helpful not only in my classroom, but in other classrooms as well. My intentions are to foster the learning experiences from this summer by reaching out to other colleagues in my district, as well as educators in other districts, through a Geoscience Open Space Stewardship Program (GOSSP). This program will be modeled after the existing OSSP program offered here at BNL and will be designed to provide other educators with an opportunity to experience outdoor environmental education with a focus on geologic activities and processes that can be incorporated into the Earth Science Classroom.


The method used to measure the sphericity of the boulders was modeled after the work done by Corbett, et al (1). In addition to the GPS coordinates, the measurements of height, and three axial measurements, when possible, were recorded. From this data, diameters and classification of shape using Zingg’s shape chart were calculated.

The method used to determine the profile along the beach was modeled after Birkemeier(2)

Material needs were very simple for each activity and included:

100 ft measruring tape

Garmin GPS

Two - 6ft sections of PVC pipe graduated in tenths of feet or meters.


Carpenters level.

Record Book


My experience with the DOE ACTS program has provided me with a unique opportunity to become reacquainted with the learning process and develop new programs to enhance my classroom activities. I have had many opportunities this summer to work in the field, utilize rather simple techniques to collect data, and then analyze the data collected with the most current software programs available through the internet. The programs and activities I have been involved with will be easily incorporated into my current Earth Science curriculum. My goal is to increase student involvement and the learning process through field activities and computer technology. My intentions are to continue the growth and development of the projects initiated this summer, continue with the growth and development of my computer skills, and develop new hands on programs that can be used in my classroom. Once these programs are fully developed and “field-tested” with my students, the lessons will be incorporated into the proposed GOSSP program to be offered here at BNL for other educators. This program will be designed to foster the knowledge and experiences I have been afforded here at BNL through DOE ACTS.


Because I want my students to see science and their natural surroundings as a meaningful and important part of their educational experience, I will bring to the classroom the field experiences and activities created here at BNL through the DOE ACTS program and incorporate them into student laboratory activities. Many of the techniques utilized throughout my first summer of research will be used during the annual Earth Science field trip to Caumsett State Park. Students will determine the GPS coordinates and sphericity of boulders on the beach, make observations regarding their surroundings, collect sand and rock samples and determine surface elevations which will ultimately be used to draw a beach profile and a contour map. It is my belief that having the students complete these hands on activities at the beach will allow them to bring real-life experiences into the classroom to enhance the learning environment throughout the year.

Determining GPS coordinates of a boulder


I would like to thank my mentor, Mr. Bill Dorsch and the entire staff of the Groundwater Protection Division here at BNL. They were extremely helpful with providing us information regarding on-site environmental investigations, access to monitoring well locations, water-level information access to and information regarding on-site remediation systems. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to Ken White and the entire staff of OEP, who continue to so willingly assist all the teachers participating in this program. Finally, the success of this summer program would never have been achieved if it weren’t for the collegial effort and support from Bob Mozer, (William Floyd Middle School) and Bill Corbett (Bellport High School).

Measuring boulders

  • Study of Erratics on the Ronkonkoma Moraine in Eastport, Long Island by Diane Starbuck-Ribaudo MAT Earth Science Stony Brook William Corbett MAT Earth Science Stony Brook and AnnMarie Fishwick MAT Earth Science Stony Brook
  • (2) Birkemeier, "Fast, Accurate Two-Person Beach Surveys", Coastal Engineering Technical Aid No. 81- Il., U.S. Army Engineer Waterways ExperimentStation, Vicksburg, MS, 1981.

The activities performed this summer are designed to satisfy the following New York State Learning Standards for the Regents Earth Science Curriculum:

STANDARD 1—Analysis, Inquiry, and Design

Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.


Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information, using appropriate technologies.

STANDARD 6—Interconnectedness: Common Themes

Students will understand the relationships and common themes that connect mathematics, science, and technology and apply the themes to these and other areas of learning.

STANDARD 7—Interdisciplinary Problem Solving

Students will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science, and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions.


Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

Key Idea 2:

Many of the phenomena that we observe on Earth involve interactions among components of air, water, and land.

Determining surface elevations of a Long Island beach

GPS coordinates of boulders plotted in google maps