Lessons from limestone: How to teach all sciences with limestone
Michael A. Gibson, Don W. Byerly, 2018. "Lessons from limestone: How to teach all sciences with limestone", Geology at Every Scale: Field Excursions for the 2018 GSA Southeastern Section Meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee, Annette Summers Engel, Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
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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.