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Principal investigators

Eileen Vander Flier-Keller

Dr. Flier-Keller's research is currently focused on Earth science outreach, and teacher education and professional development in Earth science, as well as science in the media, marine sediment geochemistry, and coal geochemistry and geology.

Cathy Carolsfeld, MSc, co-owner of WestWind Sealab Supplies, Director, Seaquaria in Schools. She has been involved a variety of international and regional marine and environmental education projects.

Nikki Wright, B.A Marine Environmental Educator, Executive Director of SeaChange Marine Conservation Society. She has been involved in various marine and environmental conservation and education projects over the last 20 years in the Great Victoria, BC region.

Research Assistants

  • Michael Todd-Hammond, Scientific literacy and the mobile curriculum: Emerging possibilities and challenges for diverse learning populations. (in progress). Doctoral dissertation, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.
  • Michele Tomasino, Environmental education curriculum development, MA student, University of Victoria, BC.



This Pacific CRYSTAL project involves two distinct efforts to promote science understanding, science careers, and contextual applications: Earth Science and Biology Interdisciplinary Project, and BC Year of Science 2010/2011 (in conjunction with the Faculty of Sciences). Earth Science and Biology Interdisciplinary Project. We are developing innovative teaching resources and professional development opportunities for teachers to advance teaching and learning in science and environmental education with integrated, interdisciplinary, place-based approaches. These include hands-on and field-based teaching approaches integrating Earth Science and Biology in the contexts of marine ecosystems, evolution and the fossil record, and soils. Teacher input has been solicited through professional development workshops involving both classroom and field components. The proximity of many BC schools to the coast and/or excellent rock and fossil localities preserving millions of years of geological time facilitate place-based teaching of environmental education, marine biology and earth history. These kinds of experiences are more engaging for both students and teachers and model the investigative skills that are the foundation of the scientific process, while building meaningful connections between classroom learning and the relevant contexts involving science, technology, society and environment issues. The Earth Science and Biology Interdisciplinary Project builds on the results and experiences of existing EdGEO and Earth science education activities, and the Seaquaria in Schools program. These Pacific CRYSTAL projects provide context and opportunities for networking and collaborative activities that integrate lessons learned from each project into interdisciplinary ideas and applications. We have begun to test pilot activities and resources with teachers and student teachers through workshops at school district professional development conferences, and the University of Victoria's Faculty of Education.

The BC Year of Science Project This 2010/2011 effort has been focused on Science for Society, a project that promotes scientific inquiry, understanding and career awareness for BC youth and their teachers. To increase understanding and awareness of the important role of science in society. Pacific CRYSTAL, in collaboration with the Faculty of Science, is developing a series of “Science Activities of the Month” to encourage hands-on investigation into interesting and societally relevant issues such as water resources, and the mathematics of voting. As well, each activity is linked with a “5 Minutes with a Scientist” profile of a University of Victoria scientist. Each of these highlight potential careers in science, and bring a broad range of scientists to BC youth (Web link:


Events and Activities

  • The Science 'Activity of the Month'
  • '5 Minutes with a Scientist' can be found at

  • October Activity of the Month
    "Science to understand our land: terranes, tectonic plates and how BC came to be"
    5 minutes with a scientist "Stephen Johnston, Geologist"
  • November Activity of the Month
    "Science to Understand Space: Going to the limit to explore the universe, its stars and galaxies" (with Sara Ellison)
    5 minutes with a scientist "Sara Ellison, Astronomer"
  • December Activity of the Month
    "Science to Understand our Forests: What conifers live near you, and how healthy are they?" (with Michael Todd Hammond)
    5 minutes with a scientist "Peter Constabel, Biologist"
    5 minutes with a scientist "Trisalyn Nelson, Geographer"
  • January Activity of the Month
    "Mathemathics and Society: Exploring how voting systems can impact election results" (with Anthony Quas)
    5 minutes with a scientist "Anthony Quas, Mathematician"
  • February Activity of the Month
    “Science to Understand the Oceans: Building a diving machine or Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) to explore the deep ocean”
    5 Minutes with a scientist “ Mairi Best, Marine Scientist” and “Kim Juniper, Biological Oceanographer”
  • March Activity of the Month
    “Water Science: What on Earth is groundwater? Where does it come from? How can it get contaminated?”
    5 Minutes with a scientist “Terry Prowse, Water Scientist”

Conference Presentation

  • Van der Flier-Keller, E., Carolsfeld, C., & Bullard, T., 2010. Exploring Connections Between Earth Science and Biology for Environmental Education. Poster presented at EECOM (Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication) 2010 Annual National Conference, May 2010, Vancouver BC
  • Van der Flier-Keller, E., Carolsfeld, C., & Bullard, T., 2009. Exploring Connections Between Earth Science and Biology – Interdisciplinary Science Activities for Schools. Presented (poster) at the Geological Association of Canada/American Geophysical Union Joint Annual Meeting, May 2009, May 2009, Toronto Ontario
  • Van der Flier-Keller, E., Carolsfeld, C., & Bullard, T., 2009. Exploring connections between Earth science and biology – interdisciplinary science activities for schools. Presented (poster) at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Pacific Northwest Section Annual Meeting, June 2009, Vancouver BC.



  • Soils (2008 October). Soils, CETUS workshop for pre-service teachers, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC.
  • Nearshore Life and the Fossil Record (ecology and evolution). (2009 February). Saanich Teachers Professional Development Conference “From Community to Classroom” workshop. Saanich, BC.
  • Nearshore Life and the Fossil Record (ecology and evolution). (2009 May). Cowichan Teachers Association Professional Development Conference “Train the Brain”. Duncan, BC.
  • Nearshore Life and the Fossil Record (ecology and evolution). (2010 November). SD 61 District Wide Professional Development Day “Environmental Learning Grounded in Place: Earth Science Meets Seaquaria in Our Community”. Victoria, BC.


Instructional Resources







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