Teaching Science through History II

Glacial Theory 1800-1870

by Keith Montgomery

In the early 1800s, geologists traveled widely, documenting the landscape, asking various questions about geologic forms and history. By 1840, they were addressing the startling proposal that glaciers occured not just in the Alps, but at one time all across Europe. This case study situates students in the period, allowing them to tour the various sites virtually through GoogleEarth, while accessing original documents, maps and drawings. They then address Agassiz's glacial theory, either as individuals or, through a simulated debate, as members of the Geological Society of London. Major NOS elements include:

  • conceptual change
  • nature of field work
  • historical reasoning
  • role of personality/politics of science

Proceed to introductory opening webpage.