I am MaryAnn McGarry, Associate Professor of Science Education at Plymouth State University, in Plymouth, N.H. As I discuss in the short video above, I have created this site to share teaching materials and strategies related to the topic of impacts and extinctions, particularly information about a new theory that a comet air burst occurred 13,000 years ago- causing the extinction of the megafauna, the end of the Clovis culture, the onset of the Younger Dryas cooling period, and the formation of the Carolina Bays-a number of elliptical depressions in the earth. Along with all of the teacher resources that accompany the main lesson, this site includes my story and interest in developing this project. My main goal was to explore a controversial hypothesis that potentially explains four enigmas to show students the nature of science- how scientists can disagree and debate, and thus how science evolves. I also wanted to emphasize the value of scientists working collaboratively. I have posted reflections as I'm discovered and created resources to help explore this new theory. This site is also linked with an article I have submitted for publication to the NSTA Journal Science Scope for middle level educators.
Dan Straffon is a Masters of Arts in Science Education graduate student (pictured below); as this website is being createed he is completing his student teaching overseas. In the fall of 2009, I suggested Dan turn a case study entitled "Impact, Extinction, and the Ice Age" found in the text- Natural Hazards: Earth's Processes as Hazards, Disasters, and Catastrophes, (Edward A. Keller and Robert H. Blodgett, 2008) into a lesson plan for middle school students. He then piloted the lesson with another PSU Master's student, Chuck Patterson, and together they presented the material at the fall New Hampshire Science Teacher's Conference in the spring of 2010. I'd like to thank Dan for going on this journey with me and for the work he put into many of the components on the lesson plan.
I would also like to thank Justin L'Italien, Instructional Multimedia Specialist and Ellen Murphy, Director of Learning Technologies and Online Education at Plymouth State University. Murphy introduced me to Mahara and L'Italien helped me design this site.