Train and Goldner Receive AGI's Roy Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Teachers Marcia Train and Mark Goldner have been named the 2023 recipients of the American Geosciences Institute's (AGI) Edward C. Roy Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching. To celebrate AGI's 75th anniversary, the Institute is giving two awards this year — one at the elementary-school level and one at the middle-school level — rather than the traditional single award.

Marcia Train, a teacher at Long Island Elementary School in Long Island, Maine, earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of Maine and her master's degree from the University of Southern Maine. Train believes that the best way to teach science involves place-based lessons, which is an approach that she applies to her teaching in her multi-grade classroom on the small island where she lives. Through such lessons, which are reinforced each year, students come to understand that opportunities for learning do not stop when the school day or year is over. For example, by having her students collect data on erosion and tidepools along the coast of their island, she places the students in the role of being the driving force for the topics they investigate together. Her role, therefore, becomes what she refers to as a "tour guide of learning," enabling students to build understanding through their own explorations of the natural world.

Mark Goldner, a middle-school science teacher at Heath School in Brookline, Massachusetts, earned a bachelor's degree in physics and history as well as a master's degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University. He has earned Massachusetts professional teaching licenses in general science and physics. In his 31 years teaching, Goldner has designed novel inquiry projects for his students in which they practice Earth science through the lens of time and systems. By connecting to these larger concepts, students are able to understand how small changes can have significant effects on both humans and the Earth, even if those effects are not immediate. Goldner also demonstrates to his students that learning is a lifelong process by participating in programs such as PolarTREC, a program funded by the National Science Foundation that enables science teachers to collaborate on field research with polar scientists. Programs like these allow him to bring new findings into his classroom and have students engage with real-world data, which can help make abstract concepts more accessible.

"Marcia Train and Mark Goldner demonstrate how innovative Earth science education can connect the learning process to students' lives and communities," said AGI Executive Director Jonathan Arthur. "To help illuminate and celebrate the importance of high-quality Earth science education across the elementary- and middle-school grade levels, AGI is pleased to honor these two deserving teachers with this year's Roy Award."

As part of the award, each winner will receive a $2,500 cash prize and up to $1,500 for professional travel. Both winners and their schools will receive plaques recognizing the accomplishment. The winners will be recognized in a ceremony during the National Earth Science Teachers Association's Friends of Earth Science Reception at the National Science Teaching Association's Annual Conference in Atlanta on March 25, 2023.

Given annually, AGI's Edward C. Roy Jr. Award traditionally recognizes one classroom teacher from kindergarten to eighth grade for leadership and innovation in Earth science education. The award is named in honor of Dr. Edward C. Roy Jr., who was a strong and dedicated supporter of Earth science education. To learn more, please see

About AGI
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI), a federation of scientific and professional associations representing over a quarter-million geoscientists, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to serving the geoscience community and addressing the needs of society. AGI headquarters are in Alexandria, Virginia.
AGI Contact:
Geoff Camphire, Communications