Pioneering Ideas

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Education and Outreach

ERN Item Type: 

  • Classroom Activities


New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR)


The people who have shaped our idea of the Earth are pioneers, just as truly as those who struck out in new directions across its surface. This idea may be new to students. Could a person be a pioneer without leaving home? The students will discuss characteristics of pioneers and relate it to being an earth scientist. During the course of the brainstorming, remind the class that in a historical sense we tend to think of pioneers as men and women who have moved beyond the edge of settlement. Daniel Boone was such a person, and so were Lewis and Clark and Matthew Henson, the polar explorer. There are other types of pioneers, however--those who are willing to advance new ideas and suggest new theories to explain physical or cultural phenomena. Albert Einstein, with his theory of relativity, is a good example of this kind of pioneer. So is Marie Curie, who worked to develop radium therapy and conducted some of the earliest experiments with radiation.

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Earth Science Big Ideas: 

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