21 Sep 2023
 | 21 Sep 2023

Rocks Really Rock: Generating positive impacts in middle and high school students’ attitudes toward geology via Web Google-Earth electronic field trips

Carolina Ortiz-Guerrero and Jamie Loizzo

Abstract. Earth Sciences (ES) are relevant to society and its relationship to the Earth system. However, ES education, in K-12 environments in the United States, face several challenges including limited exposure to ES, lack of awareness of ES careers, and low ES literacy. International associations have recognized these challenges and recommended that Earth scientists improve the public’s perception of the relevance of ES. In recent years, informal science communication/outreach platforms such as the “Streaming Science” model of electronic field trips (EFT), which connect K-12 classrooms with STEM professionals, have gained popularity as an educational technology tool. EFTs are inexpensive, have spatiotemporal benefits, and have proven an effective informal science education pathway for introducing STEM content into formal classrooms to increase positive attitudes and interest in STEM careers. Nevertheless, EFTs in ES for K-12 environments have not been widely disseminated, and their impact in ES education has yet to be studied.

This study presents the creation and implementation of an EFT in geology called “Rocks Really Rock: An Electronic Field Trip across Geological Time.” The program was implemented in seven schools in Spring 2022. The EFT was built in web Google Earth and had six stops that featured pre-recorded videos recorded in different locations in Idaho-U.S. The lead presenter/author used multimedia and science-communication strategies such as storytelling to develop and teach concepts related to geologic time, rock formation, and landscape-forming geological process. The content aligned with four specific topics listed in the National Science Foundation’s Earth Sciences Literacy Principles and intersected with the Next Generation Science Standards for middle school classrooms.

Participating students (n = 120) completed a post-assessment after the program implementation to evaluate its impact. Results showed the EFT positively impacted students’ attitudes toward geology, geology careers, and their perceptions of geology literacy. We identified the three main factors that determined positive attitude change of K-12 students toward ES were: 1) the use of videos and Web Google Earth platform for creating outreach materials for K-12 students, 2) the use of storytelling to craft the content of the EFT, and 3) the asynchronous interactions between teacher-student-scientist. The results indicated a statistically significant positive change in attitudes toward geology, suggesting that participating in the EFT increased students' positive attitudes toward ES. These findings demonstrate the potential of expanding EFT to other ES fields and reaching middle/high school students. We suggest that EFTs are effective outreach tools that can address the challenges in ES education and can be extended to other ES areas and distributed to students in middle/high schools and homeschools, to support science educators in ES education.

Carolina Ortiz-Guerrero and Jamie Loizzo

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1484', Edward McGowan, 05 Oct 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1484', Janine Krippner, 20 Oct 2023

Carolina Ortiz-Guerrero and Jamie Loizzo

Carolina Ortiz-Guerrero and Jamie Loizzo


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Short summary
This paper tackles K-12 Earth Science (ES) education challenges, introducing the "Rocks Really Rock" Electronic field trip. Utilizing multimedia and storytelling via Web Google Earth, shows a significant positive shift in attitudes towards geology, careers, and literacy. Findings endorse EFT effectiveness, supporting dissemination in schools and homeschooling to enhance ES education.