Educator Opportunities

Opportunities for Educators

GSA Connects 2022 offers professional development opportunities for educators at all levels, as well as community outreach events for the general public.

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Educator Workshops (Online)

GSA members and partners are offering free, online workshops in conjunction with GSA Connects 2022 and Earth Science Week.

Topics include energy and climate, place-based learning and geoheritage, the Earth@Home Regional Guides, climate and emotions, and the water cycle. See below for details.

All times MDT

Energy & Climate: Replacing Fire in Energy Systems

Sat., 8 Oct., 10–11:30 a.m.

Presenters: Don Haas, Alexandra Moore, Robert Ross, & Ingrid Zabel, The Paleontological Research Institution, its Museum of the Earth & Cayuga Nature Center


Description: Fire is at the root of modern climate change and teaching about climate change without teaching about energy is like teaching about lung cancer without teaching about smoking. In this workshop, we will powerfully highlight a specific example of how the burning of fossil fuels is changing our atmosphere, and a specific example of how we might harvest the Earth’s heat directly rather than extracting fuels to burn for the heating of buildings. We will share a wide range of free resources and strategies. New resources include an extensive collection of short videos with associated activities, the Changing Climate: Our Future, Our Choice museum exhibit and its virtual counterpart, resources related to Cornell University’s Deep Geothermal Heat Research project that is a central part of the University’s decarbonization efforts, and more.

Flood Risk & Impact

Sat., 8 Oct., 12–2 p.m.

Presenters: Carla McAuliffe, TERC; and Stephanie Harmon, Earth Science Teacher


Description: Earth’s changing climate has resulted in extreme weather events around the globe. Wetter weather in some areas has increased the risk of flooding, which is one of the most dangerous natural hazards that humans face. During this two-hour workshop, explore the Flood Risk & Impact Module from Concord Consortium ( The online module includes the embedded Flood Explorer simulation ( that allows students to investigate factors that contribute to inland flooding, the hazards and impacts that floods bring to people and their communities, and the role that climate change may play in future flood events.

Creating Lessons that Integrate Earth Science Phenomena with Place-based and Geoheritage Frameworks

Sun., 9 Oct., 10–11:30 a.m.

Presenters: Aida Awad, American Intercontinental University; Missy Holzer, Great Minds PBC; Ed Robeck, American Geosciences Institute


Description: Many Earth science educators focus their instruction on specific sites so that learning occurs in context. As they do this, many work to establish the relevance of the site to their students and their communities by addressing cultural, historical, aesthetic and other attributes of the site as Earth science phenomena are being addressed. The concepts of geoheritage and place-based education offer frameworks for teachers to explore those additional dimensions in coherent ways. This workshop will introduce participants to principles of geoheritage and place-based education, and help them apply those principles to the preparation of instructional materials focused on a particular site using virtual platforms such as Google Earth Projects. The emphasis will be on students taking an active role in exploring these additional dimensions of sites in their communities and beyond. You will leave this workshop with an outline for a geoheritage-based lesson focused on an iconic or local site of your choosing.

Free, Online Earth@Home Regional Guides to the Earth Science of the United States

Sun., 9 Oct., 12–1:30 p.m.

Presenters: Elizabeth Hermsen, Jonathan Hendricks, Robert Ross, and Don Haas; The Paleontological Research Institution, its Museum of the Earth & Cayuga Nature Center


Description: Earth@Home is a free, open access website ( designed to help students, their teachers, and the wider public learn about the Earth and its history. The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) is currently developing Earth@Home regional guides to the Earth science of the United States, called “Here on Earth” ( The goal of Here on Earth is to provide visitors with fundamental information about the Earth for the region of the U.S. where they live. Here on Earth coverage is now available for the southeastern, south-central, southwestern, and western U.S., as well as Hawaii; guides to the northwest-central, midwestern, and northeastern U.S. will be added soon. Some topics on Here on Earth are covered on a regional scale (geologic history, climate, Earth hazards, and, where relevant, glaciers), whereas others are covered at the subregional physiographic province scale (rocks, fossils, topography, energy, and mineral resources). These and other Earth@Home resources will be highlighted in this workshop.

Climate Emotions Matter

Sun., 9 Oct., 3–4:30 p.m.

Presenters: Don Haas and Ingrid Zabel, The Paleontological Research Institution, its Museum of the Earth & Cayuga Nature Center; Nellie Duggan-Haas, SUNY Purchase undergraduate; Ada Bastedo, Amherst High School student


Description: The implications of climate change are terrifying. Honestly addressing climate change, its implications, and the emotional impacts of these implications is essential to effective climate change education. And, climate change is perhaps the greatest problem facing global society in the coming decades, making it essential to an effective education. Research shows that students overwhelmingly struggle with a range of climate emotions from both learning about climate change and direct environmental disasters experiences. How can schools and teachers help students become more emotionally resilient in the face of climate change? This session will offer strategies and resources for more effectively addressing climate emotions in your teaching, and will include the voices of students in the program.

Our water cycle: a new diagram created with and for K-12 educators

First offering: Sun., 9 Oct., 5–6 p.m.

Repeat offering: Tues., 11 Oct., 5–6 p.m.

Presenters: Hayley Corson-Dosch, Rachel Volentine, Nicole Felts, and Charlotte Riggs (U.S. Geological Survey)

Register (Sun., 9 Oct.)

Register (Tues., 11 Oct.)

Description: Water cycle diagrams are widely used by educators to convey core scientific principles about water storage and movement on Earth. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water cycle diagram was developed in 2000, has been translated into more than 60 languages, and is used in educational, professional, and hobbyist settings worldwide. Unfortunately, it provides an incomplete picture of Earth’s hydrologic cycle. This year, USGS is releasing a new water cycle diagram that depicts the role of and impact humans have on water storage, movement, and availability, among other scientific and aesthetic improvements. Educators were key contributors to the design of the new diagram – USGS heard from hundreds of educators about how they use the water cycle diagram in their instruction and incorporated their feedback into the design. During this interactive discussion session, USGS scientists will share information about the basis and importance of the new diagram, as well as the science it depicts. Come discuss instructional applications with your peers and give us your feedback about future directions for lesson plans and other materials based on the revised diagram.

Topical Sessions

Filter the list of topical sessions by selecting Geoscience Education from the “Select Discipline Category” drop-down menu, or by typing a key word in the search box.

Learn more about topical sessions

Short Courses

Take a short course on topics in geoscience education, such as Inclusive Educational Outreach with NASA SCoPE (course 533), Foundations in the Design and Teaching of Geoscience Courses Using Active Learning Strategies (course 517), How to Create Your Own 3D Videogame–Style Geologic Field Trip and Host it Online: Accessible, Immersive Data Visualization for Education and Research (course 505), and others.

Learn more about short courses

Field Trips

Participate in a field trip, like A Bike Tour: Geology, Geochronology, and Geochemistry of the Table Mountain Shoshonite, Golden, Colorado (trip 404), Accessible Tour of Colorado Geoscience for Students & Faculty (trip 407), World Class Geologic Heritage Sites of the Metropolitan Denver, Colorado Area (trip 406), and more.

Learn more about field trips

Educator Events

  • Educators’ Reception
    • Tues., 11 Oct., 6–9 p.m. Ace Eat Serve, 501 E 17th Ave. Denver, Colorado 80203, +1-303-800-7705
    • This fun and informal reception is a great way for you to network with educators. Appetizers and a cash bar are provided.
    • Sponsored by the GSA Geoscience Education Division (GED), National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), American Geosciences Institute (AGI), Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), and the Geosciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (GeoCUR).
  • Awards Luncheon
    • Ticketed Event
    • Tues., 11 Oct., 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. US$68.
    • Joint Awards Luncheon: National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), GSA Geoscience Education Division, and the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) Joint Awards Luncheon.
    • See all ticketed events

More Opportunities for Educators

Check out the GeoCareers programs, to get ideas about careers in earth science for your students.

Consider serving as a mentor, and share your experience as an educator with earth science students and recent graduates.

Learn more about how GSA supports K-12 education.

Continuing Education Units

Meeting attendance, short courses, and field trips qualify for continuing education units (CEUs). One CEU equals 10 hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.