Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-11-2021


Students interested in geosciences, for the most part, missed out their traditional field- based research activities due to strict social distancing, travel restrictions and/or lacking financial support. An absence of physical laboratory opportunities forced students to choose topics deemed doable through online research. Available data from online sources on extreme weather related case studies, flooding, droughts, groundwater depletion in urban and suburban areas, coastal erosion rate, sealevel rise, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and atmospheric pollution became quite handy and lucrative. Readily available pertinent data sources enabled K9-16 students to conduct summer research at “stay home” situations. Selective peer mentoring was also available remotely to representative students, mostly led by geology faculty. It certainly facilitated both individual and group-based learning of geoscience- related research. Group projects were very effective in promoting team dynamics by encouraging participating students to engage in discussions during breakout sessions. This aspect is very significant for students, considering geoscience-related research often requires close collaboration between multiple individuals. The retrieval of online data mostly became available to students from regularly posted information by the NASA Earth Observatory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Meteorological Society, European Space Agency, United States Geological Survey, and Environmental Protection Agency. Filtering of critical data and establishing their relevance to a chosen topic often required patience and proper time management. Once the data were selected, students needed to run basic statistical investigations and come up with graphical representations, document trends, and signify their bearing on the overarching research question. The outcome is that COVID 19 opened up a new dimension and pedagogical approach to engage K9-16 students in geoscience-related research. Engaged students became proficient in data collection techniques, acquired scientific communication skills, and learnt about time management. Overall, the K9-16 students involved became self- motivated and were highly successful in reaching their research goals.


This work was originally presented at the 2021 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, available at



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