Contact: Michael J. Smith (207) 230-0046
October 31, 2001

AGI Posts Results of 2001
Curriculum Leadership Institute

ALEXANDRIA,VA — The American Geological Institute (AGI) hosted its second annual Curriculum Leadership Institute, July 21-27, 2001, in the Metro Washington, DC, region. The Institute prepared 29 teachers, geologists, science supervisors, and 14 representatives from It's About Time Publishing to serve in a leadership capacity with the modular and inquiry-based Earth science curricula: Investigating Earth Systems™ (IES) for middle-school grades and Earth System Science in the Community – Understanding Our Environment (Earth Comm™) for high-school grades. AGI has developed both curricula in accordance with the National Science Education Standards and the American Association for the Advancement of Science—Project 2061's Benchmarks for Science Literacy.

    Evaluation responses from participants are one measure of the workshop’s effectiveness. “I feel well prepared to present the format and content of the curriculum at a presentation or workshop. By practicing presenting an investigation, I feel I will be comfortable at showing how this program gives content through inquiry.” Another wrote,  “The workshop was an excellent way to better understand how the whole EarthComm™ system works and how to make it an effective part of an Earth science program. I am very confident in presenting a workshop on EarthComm™.” In both 2000 and 2001, a key component of the training has been the teaching of a module by each participant to their fellow participants. One participant wrote, “If students learn best by hands-on or doing, then presenters become adept through practice. The Institute has given me a concentrated block of time in which to observe, read, and practice.” The final evaluation report for the 2001 AGI Curriculum Leadership Workshop is available online at

    Institute facilitators included Lynn Sironen (EarthComm™ teacher), Marti Tomko (IES teacher), Don Byerly (Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee, Knoxville), Barbara Zahm (Professional Development Coordinator at It’s About Time Publishing), and Mike Smith (AGI Education Director). Most participants are secondary school teachers whose schools have purchased an AGI textbook; however, some university faculty and state survey geologists also attend. The 2001 Curriculum Leadership Institute was funded through grants and contributions from the American Geological Institute Foundation, the Geological Society of America, and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation. “Curriculum Leadership Institutes are a strategic component in our ongoing efforts to implement effective Earth science education reform,” says AGI Education Director Michael J. Smith. “Through the Institutes, we are building a network of educators who actively support the nationwide adoption of IES and Earth Comm™ and who become a resource for teachers implementing these programs at the local level.” The next Curriculum Leadership Institute will take place in the Metro Washington, DC, region, July 20-26, 2002. Individuals who wish to apply for leadership training should contact Mike Smith at

    AGI has been a leader in geoscience education for four decades. In recent years, AGI has produced two major inquiry-based curricula for K-12 Earth science education with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and support from the corporate contributors of the AGI Foundation. These programs, the nine-module Investigating Earth Systems™ for middle schools (Grant ESI 9452789) and the five-module EarthComm™ for high schools (Grant ESI 9353035), are available from It’s About Time Publishing ( In 2001, AGI received a $1.7 million award from NSF to develop an inquiry-based Earth science textbook for middle-school students over the next three years under Grant ESI 0095938. The new curriculum-development effort, Project CUES (Constructing Understandings of Earth Systems), will be based upon the modular Investigating Earth Systems™ program recently released by AGI. For more information about these and other Earth science education programs, visit the AGI web site,, or contact Dr. Michael J. Smith, AGI Education Director, at

    The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 37 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment. More information about AGI can be found at The Institute also provides a public-outreach web site,

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