Primary Sources in Science Classrooms: Mapping the Ocean Floor, Marie Tharp, and Making Arguments from Evidence (Part 2)

Textbooks and teachers often tell students about German scientist Alfred Wegener who went public in 1912 with his theory of continental drift. The scientific community did not widely accept Wegener’s ideas during his lifetime and often derided colleagues who entertained the theory. Wegener passed away in 1930. Even as Marie Tharp was creating maps in the 1950s, scientists were actively constructing ideas and compiling evidence related to seafloor spreading and magnetic striping.

Primary Sources in Science Classrooms: Mapping the Ocean Floor, Marie Tharp, and Making Arguments from Evidence (Part 1)

What might a map from 1977, a poster from 1944, and a newspaper article from 1915 have in common with three twentieth century wars and the theory of plate tectonics? These three digitized artifacts in the Library of Congress’s collection have quite a bit in common when it comes to the emergence of evidence supporting a key theory in Earth science.

Five Questions with Carlin Rene Sayles, “The Map Teacher,” Library of Congress Geography and Map Division

In addition to my regular job, I volunteer to work with K-12 students who come to visit our division. During my presentation, I show the students the differences between their neighborhood or school library and a large map research library like the Library of Congress.