The University of New Mexico
The Lunar and Planetary Institute
NASA Ames Research Center
NASA Office of Space Science (Broker/Facilitator)
New Mexico Museum of Natural History
Sandia National Laboratories
"The Great Desert" training workshop for science teachers, focused on the
geology and biology of Mars through analogies on Earth. Field studies included the
Grand Canyon, the Meteor Crater, Sunset Crater Volcano, the Jemez Caldera
volcano and its hot springs, and faults of the Rio Grande Rift. At the University
of New Mexico (Albuquerque), classroom learning complemented the field studies,
and included up-to-the-minute results from spacecraft exploration of Mars. Tested
classroom activities will help illustrate the field studies, and are to be shared
with your students, school, and district. The field and
classroom work was augmented by extensive background materials,
activity plans, and references.
"The Great Desert" was designed for 6th12th grade science teachers
(especially of Earth Science, Biology, and Space Science). Also attending
were teachers from science centers and private companies.
"The Great Desert" was organized and produced by the Lunar and Planetary
Institute and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University
of New Mexico. The workshop was taught by geologists, planetary scientists,
and astrobiologists from the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the
University of New Mexico, NASA Ames Research Center, Arizona State
and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. The scientists participated
throughout the workshop, in the field, in the lab, and in the classroom.
Interactions between the teachers and presenters was close throughout the
workshop -- one-on-one and in small groups. All questions were answered,
at least with an "I don't know that."
The presenters have have taught similar workshops over several years.
Please explore the Internet site
of last year's workshop (Yellowstone National Park and Montana State University)
to see what we offered! Our training experience also includes a workshop at
Washington's Channeled Scablands as an analogue for Martian flood channels; and
two workshops through the Cascade volcanos and Oregon lava fields to explore
planetary volcanism. Feedback on these workshops has been enthusiastic, and most
teachers report that their curricula are invigorated, and energized with many
ideas, samples (manipulatives), and images.
Where and When?
"The Great Desert" started from Albuquerque, NM early on Sunday July 13,
Our first destination was the Grand Canyon, where we spent two nights at a park
lodge. Returning to Albuquerque, we stayed in the UNM dorms, and spent two days
in classroom / lab work. Friday, we took a day trip from Albuquerque through
the Valles Caldera volcano. The workshop finished in late afternoon of July
The registration fee for "The Great Desert" was $600 per person
— which included travel during the Workshop, lodging (double
occupancy), two meals per day, and teaching materials.
Financial assistance was provided by several state Space Grant consortia,
the Sandia National Laboratories for teachers from the Albuquerque area, and
the NASA OSS Broker/Facilitator program for Native American teachers. .
Sixty five contact hours of
continuing education were awarded, and graduate academic credit was available as a
Geology course through the University of New Mexico.
Allan Treiman, Ph.D.
Lunar and Planetary Institute