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Online Supplemental Materials for In the Trenches Teaching about Fracking and the Energy System Issue (August, 2015)

July 7, 2015

The July 2015 issue of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ In the Trenches focuses on teaching about fracking and the energy system. This page provides links to supporting materials.

Issue Contents followed by related documents or links where relevant:

  • Letter from the Guest Editor By Don Duggan-Haas, Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York
  • Using News Reports as a Source for Controversy-Based Pedagogy 
By Eric Pyle, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Policy Conference on Fracking:
A Fun and Engaging Teaching Tool By Darrick Evensen, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
  • Multidisciplinary Approaches to 
Energy in the Classroom 
By Jeffrey B. Jacquet and Timothy J. Nichols, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota
  • Basic Fracking Math By Don Duggan-Haas, Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York, and John Taber, IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology), Washington, D.C.

Other shared materials:

The following materials have been shared in response to a query sent to various listservs while the issue was being developed. They are shared without review. If you would like to submit a syllabus or activity to this collection, email Don Duggan-Haas at

Syllabus Collection:

Other Shared Activities:

  • E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University: from GEOL005, “Environmental Geology and Natural Hazards.”
    • Description: This is what I use in my GEOL005 course, “Environmental Geology and Natural Hazards.” It’s an introductory course at Hofstra University, and I structure the class so in the first half, students investigate natural hazards (what the Earth can do to humans) and the second half of the course is environmental geology (what humans can do to the Earth). Throughout the course, I emphasize basic numeracy: students practice unit conversions, algebra, slopes and rates, and graphing data. In the second half of the course, I often spend a few weeks doing experiments with the students about the climate system and global warming. After that, I try to insert something topical. I have done units on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, but the last few years, fracking has fit the bill. The attached activity is something that the students work through during a 1 hour and 50 minute laboratory period. I organize the exercise as a two-part “jigsaw” type of activity: the students work in small groups to fill out the first three pages, then come together with folks from each small group to answer the questions on the fourth page. I ask them to write a report on their calculations, explaining the significance- that assignment is on page five; page six gives you an idea of how I grade the report. This whole effort comprises 10% of each student’s final grade in the course.
    • GEOL005.Env2lab.shalegas (MS Word)
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