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Lessons from limestone: How to teach all sciences with limestone

By
Michael A. Gibson
Michael A. Gibson
Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources, The University of Tennessee at Martin, Martin, Tennessee 38238, USA
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Don W. Byerly
Don W. Byerly
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA
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Published:
March 29, 2018
08 January 2018

ABSTRACT

Limestone provides many lessons about Earth’s systems (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere) through the geochemical, hydrologic, ­tectonic, and rock cycles. Limestone is ideal for teaching cross-disciplinary STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects of biology, chemistry, and physics, along with history and culture through its uses in society as a valuable economic resource. Carbon and calcium chemistry is part of the everyday environment, and limestone deposits around the world are important archives of biotic and abiotic Earth history. Limestones provide data for reconstructing global climate change and provide important “documents” for recreating Earth’s changing biodiversity throughout geologic time, including human history. Limestone precipitation is Earth’s antidote to global warming. Limestone is volumetrically one of our most valuable natural resources with a variety of uses, as well as frequently involved with natural and human-induced environmental hazards. Limestone is a common commodity readily available to all teachers and students, thus it is the ideal material for ­budget-strapped STEM educators to use to address Next Generation Science Standards. Some uses include: using fossils to develop concepts of paleoecology and evolution; using limestones to reconstruct ancient geography (including plate tectonics); and addressing the relevance of limestone to our society as a building stone, for its medical uses, and as a potential hazard associated with karst (caves and sinkholes). Five cross-disciplinary content concepts are addressed to aid teachers in preparing limestone-centric instruction: (1) enhancement of the understanding of chemical reactions and geochemical cycles, (2) biological evolution, (3) physics applications, (4) economic and environmental impacts, and (5) historical and fine arts’ use of limestone.

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Contents

GSA Field Guides

Geology at Every Scale: Field Excursions for the 2018 GSA Southeastern Section Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee

Annette Summers Engel
Annette Summers Engel
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Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
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Geological Society of America
Volume
50
ISBN electronic:
9780813756509
Publication date:
March 29, 2018

GeoRef

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