CCSU now has the coolest sandbox (and it’s not just for playing in!)

sandbox

[Introducing the new Augmented Reality Sandbox]

CCSU is now the only university in Connecticut with an Augmented Reality Sandbox. Part computer, part sand pile, this 100% educational (and fun!) set-up demonstrates a variety of geological phenomenon in real-time, including floods, volcanic eruptions, and glacier melts. Read about this new addition to the Geological Sciences Department here, and expect to get your time in the sandbox at the next university open house event!

Teachers Go To SCI Camp

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[Teachers discuss how to make science come alive for their students]

Nearly 80 teachers attended SCI Camp CT, which was held at CCSU on Saturday March 25, 2017, hosted by the Geological Sciences Department. SCI Camp CT, an unconference, is a grassroots effort to introduce the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to all Connecticut K-12 teachers. An unconference is a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas among all teachers. Unconference topics from this SCI Camp CT included how to embed science modeling as part of science instruction, incorporate three-dimensional learning, embed NGSS assessments, use crosscutting concepts as a way to teach science, understand the nexus of Common Core of State Standards (CCSS) and NGSS, and embed engaging science phenomenon as part of science instruction.

This SCI Camp CT was the second one hosted by the Department of Geological Science, the first being in held in December of 2016. Future SCI Camps are being planned for the summer of 2017 and beyond to provide a venue to science teachers to discuss NGSS adoption in Connecticut.

CCSU Geology Students Close NEGSA in Style

[Emily Gajda (above left) is rightfully proud of her research poster;  Max Meadows (above right) adeptly explains his work to fellow geologists; a (semi-)group shot of the CCSU contingency (there was so much to learn at the NEGSA conference that it was impossible to get all 19 CCSU attendees in one shot!)]

CCSU’s final day at NEGSA brought with it two more excellent presentations from department students, both on important environmental issues in Connecticut. Emily Gajda shared her research on the environmental impact of the Roxbury Quarry, while Max Meadows presented his findings on heavy metals pollution in Lebanon, CT. Please take the time to read their linked abstracts – you will be as impressed as we are with the amazing work these undergraduate researchers have accomplished! Rock on!

Meanwhile, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas…. (Updated!)

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[CCSU Geological Sciences alumnae Jessica Johnson (left) and Ali Steullet (center) with faculty member Dr. Jen Piatek]

While much of the department is presenting at the NE Regional Geological Society of America conference, faculty member Dr. Jen Piatek is presenting her work at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference. Here she ran into two of our illustrious alumnae, recent graduate Jessica Johnson (now studying meteorites at the University of New Mexico) and Ali Steullet (now a practicing geologist!). We’re so proud of you, Jess and Ali! Rock on!

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Update! There has been a sighting of alum Keenan Golder (pictured above), who is now working on his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee.

CCSU Students Keep Rockin’ at Northeast GSA Conference

[Ian Murphy (left) and Melissa Luna and Jackie Giblin (right) presenting their research at NEGSA in Pittsburgh]

Day Two of the Northeast Regional Geological Society of America Conference finds more CCSU students (and alumni) presenting their work. Ian Murphy is highlighting his work on Martian craters, done under the mentorship of Dr. Jen Piatek. You can read his abstract here. Jackie Giblin is presenting work on the geology of Connecticut done with now CCSU alumna Melissa Luna (currently a masters student at Wesleyan) and Dr. Michael Wizevich. Their work can be found here. Congrats to all the student researchers who, once again, prove that CCSU Geology Rocks!

CCSU Once Again Rocks the Northeast Geological Society of America Conference!

[Corbin MacDonald and Nick Zygmont present their research this morning in Pittsburgh]

March brings with it not only Spring Break, but the Northeast regional conference of the Geological Society of America. Once again, CCSU is a dominant player, with 16 students and 3 faculty members in attendance. On the first morning of presentations, Corbin MacDonald and Nick Zygmont present research done on the geology of Pennsylvania (under the mentorship of department chairman Dr. Mark Evans). Read about Corbin’s research here and Nick’s research here. Dr. Evans is also presenting in this same session. His research is described here.

 

 

Future Geologists Meet Geology Students

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[A future geologist looks inside a rock at the Meriden Gem and Mineral show]

On Saturday March 4th and Sunday March 5th 2016 we attended the Meriden Gem and Mineral Show at Maloney High School. We had a great turn out of people showing up to our table asking questions, looking through the microscopes, and talking to us about geology and Central’s geological sciences department, as well as what we as students do within the department. It was so much fun watching the kids look through the Petrographic microscope at the sample of Olivine and turn wide-eyed when we spun the microscope’s table to see the minerals change colors. There were even members of the Lapidary and Mineral Society that came over and discussed with us the minerals we were showing them through the microscopes. People were genuinely curious about what we had to say about our department, CCSU, and the information we had to say about our display. On Saturday we were approached by one of the vendors, Richard King from Trumbull, CT, who offered to donate a set of fossils to the Geological Sciences department. We were given trilobite fossils, plant impressions, a fish fossil, and a few minerals. Attending events such as this where we are sharing our knowledge with the public is always amazing and as a department and as a club I hope we can attend more.

— Sara Poppa, President, Geology and Planetary Sciences Club

Are YOU Ready for the August 2017 Solar Eclipse?

[Partial phases from the 2006 Total Solar Eclipse in Egypt. Pictures by K. Larsen, using a proper solar filter]

Dubbed “The Great American Eclipse,” this amazing celestial event will be visible from Connecticut as a partial, not total, eclipse. This means that you need proper preparation to view it safely. CCSU astronomy professor Dr. Kristine Larsen is available to speak on this important topic at libraries, schools, and other public venues within 20 miles of CCSU between now and mid-August, free of charge, schedule permitting. Please send email to Larsen@ccsu.edu with the subject line “SOLAR ECLIPSE TALK.” At least two week’s notice is required for any talk. The venue needs to provide a projection screen and a projector that can be hooked up to a laptop (or equivalent facilities).

Connecticut Science Teachers Go to SCI Camp!

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On Saturday December 3 we had our first SCI Camp at CCSU! Over thirty teachers and science education faculty from all over Connecticut attended. We had a wonderful morning session on developing and using models in the classroom. Our phenomenon was to see what happens when you put two balloons of the same size together with an open / close valve, with one blown up with 1 breath and the other with 3 breaths: what will happen if you open up the valve between them?

You’ll just have to do it yourself to see! Our next SCI Camp will be open to all teachers and administrators in Connecticut and will be held at CCSU in March 2017. More details to follow!

– Marsha Bednarski, Professor of Science Education

 

Students Offer Free Crash Course in the Night Sky

Have you ever wanted to look through a telescope at the moon or another galaxy? If so, now’s your chance!

Join us for a free public Crash Course on the Night Sky, Monday through Thursday, December 5-8, 6:30 – 8 PM if skies are clear

Hosted by the students of AST 278 Observational Astronomy

Take the elevators to the 5th floor of Copernicus Hall at CCSU and follow the signs. For more information, see http://www.ccsu.edu/astronomy