Lisa M. Blank

Photo of Lisa M. Blank

  • Office: PJW College of Education and Human Sciences 307
  • Phone: (406) 243-5304
  • Fax: (406) 243-4908
  • Email:

Mailing Address:

  • Department of Curriculum and Instruction (C&I)
  • 32 Campus Drive
  • Missoula, MT 59812


  • B.S., Environmental Science, Indiana University, 1987
  • M.A.T., General Science, Indiana University, 1993
  • Ph.D., Curriculum & Instruction (Major: Science Education; Minor: Environmental Science), Indiana University, 1997
  • State of Montana Teacher's License, Grades 5-12: Biology, Broadfield Science
  • GIS Certificate, The Pennsylvania State University, 2009

Courses Taught at UM

  • C&I 195: This is Your Brain on School: Learning and the Brain
  • C&I 200: Introduction to Teaching through Field Experience
  • C&I 497: Teaching Science K-8
  • C&I 497: Teaching Science 5-12
  • C&I 407: Ethics & Policy
  • C&I 494: Implementing IEFA in the K-12 Classroom
  • C&I 501: Curriculum Design, Implementation, and Reform
  • C&I 544: Supervision and Teaching of Science
  • C&I 694: Doctoral Seminar

Areas of Specialization

  • STEM curriculum development
  • Advancing girls in STEM pathways
  • Scientific inquiry and explanation
  • Geospatial technologies
  • Science teacher professional development
  • Culturally responsive science teaching

Current Projects

Blank, L. (2013). SHAPE P-20 STEM Initiative. Washington Foundation ($50.000). Several STEM initiatives are now underway: Expanding Your Horizons Girls' STEM Conference (; PJWCEHS 3-D Fabrication Lab, K-8 STEM Teaching Certificate; PLTW University Partnership; Robotics 

Past Projects 

Almquist, H., Blank, L., Halvorson, S. (2012). Project-based, Collaborative Learning with Google Earth and Wikis (GooWi). National Science Foundation, CI Team Demo ($245,995.00). Developed an online framework through which teachers engage their classes in place-based, collaborative learning activities that examine change over time in their local communities using wikis and Google Earth.(

Almquist, H., Blank, L. (2009). Cyber-Enabled Earth Exploration: Development of Materials for Middle School Earth Science Instruction. National Science Foundation DRK-12 ($449,461.00). Developed and pilot tested technology-embedded, inquiry-based, curricular materials for middle school students for the purpose of improving student engagement and achievement in science and technology.(

Blank, L., Crews, J., & Michael Lenz, Stadum, J. (2009). Place Names: Fort Peck Reservation. Montana Office of Public Instruction Intergovernmental Agreement ($13,193.00). Culturally competent science curriculum development.

Bruener, C., & Blank, L. Tioga Internship Learning Community: Advancing the Teaching and Learning of Stress Ecology through Student/Scientist Partnerships. (2009). The Tioga Learning Community Internship project partnered undergraduate science majors and science education majors with research scientists and education faculty.

Blank, L, T. Elser. (2008). Transforming Teacher Preparation through Faculty Development. Montana Office of Public Instruction Indian Education Ready to Go Grant ($14,953.00). Provided faculty professional development in Indian Education for All. 

Almquist, H. Stanley, G., Blank, L. (2006). Paleo Exploration Project, National Science Foundation I-Test Program ($1,300,000.00). Provided training in paleontology and geospatial analysis to middle school math and science teachers.

Reisig, D. Munson-Lenz, M, Crews, J., & Blank, L. (2006). Place Names: Building Worldviews Using Traditional Cultures and Google Earth. Montana Office of Public Instruction, Ready to Go Grant, Round 2, ($41,725.00). Culturally competent science curriculum development.

Blank, L., Crews, J., & Maumanee, N. (2005). Science Goes Spatial: Geotechnology in the Classroom. USA Toyota Foundation ($300,000.00). Developed geospatial data sets for teachers and students and provided professional development training in GIS and GPS.

Brewer, C., Alaback, P., Blank, L., Overbillig, D., Plautz, M. (2003). Ecologists, Educators, and Schools - Partners in GK-12. National Science Foundation Program (1,956,123.00). Brought scientists and educators together to create a model for how research experiences can improve the teaching and learning of science in K-12 schools and enhance the graduate and undergraduate experience.

Brewer, C., Caton, E., Blank, L. Mills, L., & Kuschel, C. (2000). Montana Teachers Investigate Ecology: MT-TIE Program, National Science Foundation ($286,054.00). Developed teacher-scientist partnerships, led professional development workshops and mentored teachers as they implemented schoolyard ecology research projects for K-12 students.

Erickson, D. Blank, L., & T. Wing. (1999) Implementing Mathematics and Science Standards K-8. Dwight D. Eisenhower Science and Mathematics Education Program ($74,960.00). A professional development collaboration between the UM College of Education and the Mission Valley Consortium. Project aligned teaching methods and content with national and state standards for math and science.

Honors and Awards

(2015) Most Distinguised Teaching Award, Univeristy of Montana (The $1,500 Distinguished Teaching Award is an extraordinary honor bestowed on those faculty who, regardless of rank, have exhibited a history of excellence in classroom teaching and have demonstrated a quality long-term impact upon their students).

(2013) Faculty Exchange Award, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China

(2004) Faculty Exchange Award, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

(2001) Most Inspirational Teacher Award, Univeristy of Montana (The $1,500 Most Inspirational Teacher of the Year award is voted on by students in recognition of a professor who has had an extraordinary impact on their lives.)

(1997) Dissertation nominated for 1997 Dissertation of the Year Award. Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

(1989) Lilly Endowment Fellowship, Bloomington, Indiana.


Blank, L., Almquist, H., Estrada, J., Crews, J. (in press) Factors affecting student success with a Google-Earth based Earth Science curriculum. Journal of Science and Technology Education

Blank, L. Snir, A., Lundesgaard, M. (2015). Fifth grade students use computer programming to create models that help them understand patterns in Earth and Sky. Science and Children, 52(5):30-35.

Blank, L., Amquist, H, Mannix, L. (2014). Exploring invasive weed species using Google Earth and wikis. In, Grant, Tim (Eds.), Teaching about Invasive Species. Toronto, CA: Green Teacher Publishing.

Blank, L., Crews, J., Knuth, R. (2014). Spatial Sci: Forwarding Geotechnology Innovations in the Classroom. In, J.G. MaKinster, N.M. Trautmann, & M. Barnett (Eds.), Teaching Science and Investigating Environmental Issues with Geospatial Technology: Designing Effective Professional Development for Teachers. Springer Publishing Co. 

Almquist, H., Blank, L., Crews, J., Stanley, G., and Hendrix, M. (2014). Designing Experiments in Field-based Professional Development: Teachers Investigate the Geologic History of Eastern Montana Using Geospatial Technologies. In, J.G. MaKinster, N.M. Trautmann, & M. Barnett (Eds.), Teaching Scienceand Investigating Environmental Issues with Geospatial Technology: Designing Effective Professional Development for Teachers. Springer Publishing Co. 

Almquist, H., Crews, J., & Blank, L. (2013, March). Cyber-Enabled Earth Exploration (CE3): A new approach for teaching about volcanoes, earthquakes, and plate tectonics. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (Vol. 2013, No. 1, pp. 4620-4626).

Almquist, H., Blank, L., & Estrada. (2012). Developing a scope and sequence for using Google Earth in the middle school earth science classroom. Geological Society of America Special Paper 492, Google Earth and Virtual Visualizations in Geoscience Education and Research: 403 -412.

Blank, L., Plautz, M., Almquist, H., Crews, J., & Estrada. (2012). Using Google Earth as a Gateway to Teach Plate Tectonics and Science Explanations. Science Scope, 35(9): 41-48.

Almquist, H., Stanley, G., Hendrix, M., Blank, L ., Hanfling, S. and Crews, J. (2011).  An integrated field-based approach to building teachers’ geosciences skills.  Journal of Geoscience Education (59):31-40.

Almquist, H., Blank, L., Crews, J., Estrada, J. (2010). A teacher's introduction to Google Earth and GPS receivers. Lolo, Montana: Spatial Sci Press.

Blank, L . Crews, J., & Munson-Lenz, M. September. (2009). Building worldviews using traditional cultures and Google Earth Curriculum Guide, DVD, Website, and animated tutorial. Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Almquist, H., Blank, L ., Crews, J., Gummer, E. Hanfling, S. and Yeagley, P. (2009). Embedding spatial technology in a field-based science education course for teachers.  SITE 20 th International Conference , Charleston, SC, March 2009, 3708-3713. Cheasapeake, VA: AACE.

Blank, L ., Crews. J., Loehman, R, Knuth, R. (2008). Science goes spatial: geotechnologies in the classroom. Northwest Passages: Journal of Educational Practices , (6): 116-129.

Almquist, H., Hendrix, M., Stanley, G., Blank, L ., and Crews, J. (2008). Paleo Exploration Project: Teachers, GIS, and Fossils in Montana. ESRI 2008 Education User Conference Proceedings.

Kaufman, K., Blank, L. & Mitchell, M. (2007). The CoMotion in Motion Resource Guide for Teachers.

Blank, L., Crews, J. & Beed, D. (2005). Geotechnologies in the elementary classroom. Eisenhower National Clearinghouse Focus, 13 (1).

Blank, L., Plautz, M., & Crews, J. (2004). Making an impact: Shattercones. Science Scope, 28 (3), 40-42. 

Blank, L. (2004). Our family tree: An evolution story. Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 23 (5-6): 54.

Blank, Brewer, Lee, Lukyx, Barker, Slingsby, Hollweg, Comfort, and Bybee. (2003). Ecology education when no child is left behind. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 7:383-390.

Blank, L. (2002). Get wild about filmmaking: CLEARING: Environmental Education Resources for Teachers, 111: 32-33.

Brown, F. & Blank, L . (2001). Bridging environmental education trans-atlantic: An American and Hungarian teacher inservice project. International Journal of Environmental Education and Information, 20 (2): 77-92.

Blank, L . (2000). A metacognitive learning cycle: A better warranty for student understanding? Science Education (84), 486-506. 

Blank, L . (1998). Red fish, blue fish: Investigating animal signals. Science Scope, 22 (3), 14-17.