Teaching Introductory Geoscience A Cutting Edge Workshop Report

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Teaching Introductory Geoscience: A Cutting Edge Workshop Report Cathryn Manduca, Science Education Resource Center,

Teaching Introductory Geoscience: A Cutting Edge Workshop Report Cathryn Manduca, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College; Barbara Tewksbury, Hamilton College; Anne Egger, Stanford University; Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary; Karin Kirk, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College Presentations from the July workshop: Examples of innovative approaches for introductory courses Classroom, Lab and Field Activities: Search nearly 400 examples from across the geosciences A sampling of activities in the collection Keynote presentation about creating long-term impacts for introductory courses The workshop program, with links to each presentation Example of a capstone project designed for long-term impact. Here students apply course content to their hometown geology. Workshop participants reviewed each others’ activities, using a rubric for activity design Abstract: Introductory undergraduate courses serve as recruiting grounds for majors and future professionals, provide relevant experiences in geoscience for pre-service teachers, and offer opportunities to influence future policy makers, business people, professionals, and citizens. An introductory course is also typically the only course in geoscience that most of our students will ever take. Because the role of introductory courses is pivotal in geoscience education, a workshop on Teaching Introductory Courses in the 21 st Century was held in July 2008 as part of the On the Cutting Edge faculty development program. A website was also developed in conjunction with the workshop. One of the central themes of the workshop was the importance of considering the long-term impact a course should have on students. Ideally, courses can be designed with this impact in mind. Approaches include using the local geology to focus the course and illustrate concepts; designing a course for particular audience (such as Geology for Engineers); creating course features that help students understand interpret geoscience in the news; and developing capstone projects to teach critical thinking and problem solving skills in a geologic context. An example exercise using an earthquake case study Student handout Part II: Meeting in your “Consulting Team” You are a consulting firm being interviewed by the city of Anchorage, or the local government of Sumatra (depending on your earthquake area of study). There has been a lot of growth in this area since your studied earthquake and they are concerned about the possibility of another earthquake catching them unprepared. Your group is a part of a consulting firm “competing” for the bid that will help the city to best prepare. You are competing against your fellow classmates for this bid. Each group will be provided with a large white board on which to present their presentation. As a group, you must do the following: Teach other what you learned in your expert groups. Start with a brief summary about what your topic was about and how you went about becoming an expert in that topic area (so make sure you’re explaining more than just the answers to the questions given). Take notes (in your notebook) when your other teammates are describing their learning process. As a group, strategize what recommendations you should make to the city council members/local governmental officials and what the best approach to your successful bid might be (remember, you’re in competition with some of your fellow classmates—you want to make sure you’ve given some careful thought to your presentation—be creative! Name your consulting firm, use a nice balance of images and text on your “poster” board, make sure it’s legible, etc…). Your poster board should include the following: o Your consulting firm name and your names. o Claim: Cause of the earthquake & the amount of damage/death that resulted. o Evidence: Tectonic setting, regions of greatest amount of damage and the cause, structures: what failed, what didn’t and why Keynote presentation about teaching the process of science with ideas generated by workshop participants about how to integrate the process of science in their courses Pedagogic inspiration for working with intro-level students Grading rubric Workshop participants also explored strategies for designing engaging activities including exploring with Google Earth, using real-world scenarios, connecting with popular media, or making use of campus features on local field trips. In addition, introductory courses can emphasize broad skills such as teaching the process of science, using quantitative reasoning and developing communication skills. Materials from the workshop as well as descriptions of more than 200 introductory courses and 350 introductory-level activities are available on the website. Find it all at: http: //serc. carleton. edu/NAGTWorkshops/intro • Google Earth, Streams and Glaciers • Incomprehensibly Small and Incomprehensibly Large • Fun with Foam: Introduction to Strike and Dip • Rock-Tectonics Synthesis Lab • Rock Cycle in Chocolate • Coastal Management Case Study • My Favorite Dead Thing • Computerized Field Trip Preview of the Berkshire Mountains • Lost At Sea • Analyzing your Hometown Stream using On-line USGS NWIS Data • Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods • Using Arc. GIS to Investigate the Connection between Bedrock Geology and the Development of Ancient Egyptian Civilization • Wind River Eco-Challenge: A Virtual Excursion Exercise for Introducing Topographic Maps Courses: Browse over 200 examples of introductory geoscience courses A sampling of courses in the collection Strategies for teaching large classes Methods to improve student motivation • Earth Systems and Climate Change • Evolution of the Earth • Sustainable Earth • History of Life • Geology of the National Parks • Geological Disasters: Agents of Chaos • Geology and Human Events in North Africa and the Middle East • Plus many examples of Physical Geology, Earth Science and Environmental Geology