The Science Outreach Program (SOuP) in the College of Science is jointly housed by Geosciences and Biological Sciences. It is an interdisciplinary bridge for research and public outreach, with a mission to help fund VT research proposals by developing education and broader impact products primarily for the regional and statewide K-12 community.

SOuP's MINTS Project was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to encourage hands-on, inquiry-based science using local environments as laboratories. The MINTS Book is still a much requested resource for teachers and community groups working to encourage outdoor learning for youth through the The Children and Nature Network and other concerns around the No Child Left Inside Act (2009 H.R. 2054). Thanks to the generous, collaborative efforts of the North Carolina Office of Environmental Education, The MINTS Book is now available online! There are chapter bookmarks and other tools (thank you, Sarah, you are awesome!).
download The MINTS Book 6mb.pdf : please credit as appropriate. Be sure to read the Introduction and Chapter 1 before diving in, and don't miss the example lessons and data sheets back in Chapter 7. We also appreciate hearing about how it is being used. (please contact Llyn)

The SOuP Education Resource Center (ERC) is a collection of hands-on kits providing teaching resources in a variety of natural science topics, correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning. As well as being used in programs, these are available for loan to K-12 educators. Homeschoolers, informal science educators, scout leaders, student volunteers, and preservice teachers are also welcome to borrow ERC materials.

Geoscience Teaching Materials in the Education Resource Center (ERC)
Geoscience teaching kits, materials, and activities are available for loan for use in classroom or outreach programs. Topics include: "What is a Mineral?", "What is in a Rock?", "Rocks of the Blacksburg Area", "Geologic Timeline", "Mineral Hardness", and "Fluorescent Minerals".

Workshops and Continuing Education
Courses and projects involve teachers and other professionals in academic, field, and laboratory knowledge-building.  Internships, CEUs, graduate, and undergraduate credit may be available. Workshops are offered for national environmental education and citizen science programs that involve real-world data collection and field work.  Examples include: 
GLOBE; Project WET; Healthy Water, Healthy People; Save Our Streams (SOS)

Hands-on programs
Programs based on hands-on kits or special curricula such as NanoEd, GLOBE, or Project WET are conducted to support the science Standards of Learning (SOLs) for Virginia schools.  They can also be appropriate for youth groups such as 4-H or Scouts.

Visits by geoscientists to classrooms, meetings, and events
Students and faculty can present general geoscience topics as well as their own research expertise (click on the searchable function to select area of interest).

Student professional development
Training is offered to geoscience undergraduates who want the opportunity to share their enthusiasm for earth science with youth groups.  They may lead tours of departmental facilities (including the Museum of Geosciences); conduct hands-on activities with K-12 students; or develop materials for the ERC, public programs, or the web.

Courses, Internships, and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)
Courses and projects involve Geosciences majors and non-majors from VT and other institutions in academic, field, and laboratory experiences.  Internships, CEUs, graduate, and undergraduate credit available. 
VTX Crystallography Workshop
Service Learning FOR4974: Service Learning in Natural Resources
Geosciences and Museology GEOS4974: Independent Study
Communicating Science with the Public GEOS4974: Independent Study

Geosciences is a charter member of VT-STEM, a university-wide outreach initiative in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) intended to contribute to Virginia's leadership in K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Virginia Tech | Dept. of Geosciences