Registration Details

This half-day workshop is part of the GSA Short Course 4-Pack. For $55, select any two workshops from the four (add 519A or 519B). Early registration ends on September 23. To sign up for a workshop, use the GSA meeting registration.


519D. Teaching Energy: Important, But Unfamiliar, Concepts, Emerging Themes & Grand Challenges.

Co-sponsored by NAGT and the Geoscience Education Division of GSA

Saturday, October 26, 2013 - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Part of the GSA Short Course 4-Pack

Instructors: James Myers, Department of Geology & Geophysics, University of Wyoming

Workshop description

Cheap, reliable and abundant energy powers the modern world. But increasing global demand, declining conventional primary energy sources, sustainability of renewable resources and the environmental impacts of energy all contribute to make energy one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Preparing our students for this challenge requires addressing traditional geoscience topics, e.g. oil, coal, petroleum, as well as topics rarely covered in traditional geoscience courses, e.g. externalities, energy transitions, energy return on investment, life-cycle assessment, thermodynamic efficiency. This workshop will introduce earth science instructors to different energy perspectives. It will provide background content knowledge, examine effective pedagogical techniques for teaching these concepts, demonstrate examples of proven active classroom activities and strategies and show how these themes have been incorporated into a variety of undergraduate courses at different grade levels and in different disciplines. A key component of the workshop will be to introduce participants to sources of energy data, the primary energy research literature and how to leverage the wealth of information coming out of the business and technology communities that tie into all energy themes and that are useful in demonstrating the relevancy of energy and its different perspectives to students. In this manner, participants will be introduced to the tools that will allow them to incorporate energy into their own teaching.

Before you go

  • Return the agenda survey identifying 5 topics you would like to discuss at the workshop by Thursday, October 24th. You were emailed the survey link earlier.
  • Complete the survey on the definition of energy, work, heat, and power by Thursday, October 24th. You were emailed the survey link earlier.
  • Complete the energy knowledge survey by Wednesday, October 23rd. You were emailed the survey link earlier.

At the Workshop

  • You will receive a thumb drive with all workshop material on it.
  • Please bring a laptop to the workshop so you can follow along and make comments on the provided materials.

Workshop program

I have been teaching energy in our courses at UW and conducting workshops on teaching energy for instructors for the last six years. Listed below are some of the topics I have covered in that time. Obviously, I cannot address even half of these topics in the four hours we have for the workshop. To plan the workshop, I would like you to provide me with feedback on what you would most like to cover at GSA. To provide his feedback, go to the Survey Monkey survey and complete it by Thursday, October 25h. Since I will be providing you with a thumb drive with the workshop content at GSA, I will also include material for those topics I won't be covering during the workshop.

  • Global Energy: Understanding the Challenge
    • An Overview
    • On Teaching Energy
  • Important, But Unfamiliar, Concepts
    • Energy: What Is It?
      • The Language of Energy
      • The Nature of Energy
      • Energy's Forms ('Blocks')
      • Summary
    • Energy Fundamentals: The Tools for Debunking Energy Myths
      • Energy Diagrams
      • Energy Flows and Stocks
      • Energy Return on Investment (EROI)
      • Energy Grade
      • Energy Transitions
      • Energy Efficiency and Jevon's Paradox
      • Life-cycle Assessment (LCA)
  • Energizing Our World: Today's Energy Paradigm
    • Fossil Fuels: Formation, Use, and Future
    • Electricity: Providing Heat, Power, Motion, and Light
      • Coal & Electricity
      • Natural Gas: A Cheaper, Cleaner Fossil Fuel Alternative to Coal
      • Making Electricity from Wind
      • Harnessing Solar Energy
      • Nuclear Power: Past, Present, and Future
    • Transportation: Moving Goods and People
      • Thermodynamics and Heat Engines
      • Liquid Fuels: Powering Transportation
      • Petroleum: The World's Most Valuable Commodity
      • Peak Oil: Creditable Threat or Needless Cry of Wolf?
      • Switching to Biofuels
  • Emerging Themes
    • Unconventional Fossil Fuels: Solution or Problem?
      • Natural Gas: The Unprecedented Impact of Shale Gas
      • Petroleum: The Shale Oil Revolution & Energy Independence
    • A Hydrogen Economy: When, if Ever?
    • Electric Vehicles
  • Grand Challenges
    • The Anthropocene & Planetary Boundaries
    • The Energy-Water-Climate (EWC) Nexus
    • The Grand Challenge Scientific Literacy (GCSL) Model: A Framework for Teaching Science
  • Teaching Energy: A Look at Pedagogy
    • Educational 'Types' of Energy
    • Teaching Energy: The Science Education Literature
    • Energy & Pedagogical Content Knowledge
    • Building Case Studies - Two Examples
    • Energy Information Sources
  • Wrap-up



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