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BHSU faculty assist in statewide Earth and Space Science Concepts Workshop

 Dr. Abigail Domagall, BHSU assistant professor of geology, left, discusses a rock formation in Lead with teachers from across South Dakota.

Deirdre Peck, Aberdeen and Cora (Nikki) Milledge, Bennett County, study the flow of “flubber” in a glacier model.


Laurie Prichard and Arlene Hicks, Kadoka, examine rock samples at the Etta Mine near Keystone.

Kayla Schindling, Sioux Falls, collects rock samples at the Etta Mine near Keystone.

Two Black Hills State University faculty members spent last week helping teachers from across the state develop a deeper understanding of geology and climate concepts – information they will now take back to their individual classrooms.

Twenty-five teachers from throughout South Dakota recently attended an “Earth and Space Science Concepts” workshop help at several locations throughout the state, including BHSU. The BHSU workshop was facilitated by Dr. Abigail Domagall, assistant professor of geology, and Dr. Janet Briggs, science education specialist at the BHSU Center for the Advancement of Math and Science Education (CAMSE). Additional assistance during the workshop was provided by Dr. Craig Howe, director of the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS), and Dr. Colin Paterson, professor emeritus at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. 

Participants noted that the workshop provided inspiration, an enhanced understanding of earth science concepts, and new engaging and budget-friendly activities that will use in their classrooms. 

The workshop, funded in part by a grant, was offered as part of the Science Specialist Endorsement through BHSU, an 18-credit hour program that serves as a content area within the Masters of Science in Curriculum and Instruction degree or as a stand-alone endorsement on the teaching certificate of teachers with an existing master’s degree. 

Teachers in the workshop developed a deep understanding of core geology and climate concepts through field- and laboratory-based activities including:  studying glacial deposits east of Pierre; analyzing sedimentary deposits and erosion in the Badlands; identifying igneous intrusions at the Etta Mine near Keystone and the Open Cut in Lead; and evaluating sedimentary deposits around Spearfish and Deadwood. 

Space science activities included the modeling of glacial flow with “flubber” and stream erosion and deposition with stream tables; an analysis of Earth’s climate variations due to variations in its orbit; and the construction of a geology timeline to tie all the field work and laboratory experiences together.

The workshop was funded through a No Child Left Behind Title II grant written by Briggs and Domagall. Briggs has received seven previous Title II grants that provide funding for teacher professional development in science. She and Domagall have partnered on three other professional development opportunities for teachers in South Dakota and Wyoming.

For more information contact Briggs at 642-6875 or or Domagall at

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