January 2008 Journal of Geoscience EducationVolume 56, Number 1
Mandy R. Petty, Oswego County BOCES Migrant Program
Audrey C. Rule, University of Northern Iowa
Spatial skills are necessary for mapping success and conceptual understanding in the geosciences. This study investigates the efficacy of using toy figures, toy buildings, digital plan-view photograph maps and digital photograph snapshots in increasing the spatial skills of children ages 2.5 to 9 years. A pretest-intervention-posttest design study with matched experimental and control groups (n=20) was conducted. The investigators examined children's performance in six skill areas: diminution in scale; identifying the simple perspective of another; mental linear displacement; mental rotation; using an aligned map and rotating an unaligned map into alignment; and identifying a more complex viewpoint of another. Pretest mean total scores were not significantly different. Posttest scores showed a twenty percent gain for the experimental group, but no net gain for the control group. Activities as described in this study can build a foundation of spatial skills needed for later geoscience map activities.
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p5
Investigating the Sedimentary History of a Pond During a Multi-Week Laboratory Project
John A. Diemer, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Andy R. Bobyarchick, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p15
To Attract, Engage, Mentor and Sustain: Outcomes from the Minority Students Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MSPHD'S) in Earth System Science??? Pilot Project
Ashanti J. Pyrtle, University of South Florida
Vivian A. Williamson Whitney, Institute for Broadening Participation
The goal of Minority Students Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success (MS PHD'S) in Earth System Science??? is to attract, engage, mentor and sustain the involvement of undergraduate and graduate minority students within the Earth system science disciplines. The pilot project for this new initiative, entitled the MSPHD'S in Ocean Sciences Program, provided yearlong opportunities for mentor/mentee engagement via academic, scientific and professional development activities. The 2003-2004 MSPHD'S in Ocean Sciences Program facilitated the involvement of 25 mentor-mentee partnerships during the May 5-8, 2003, Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) Program Open Science Meeting in Washington, D.C. MS PHD'S students received in-depth exposure to leading edge ocean science research, mentoring support from scientists responsible for these advancements, and insight into future marine research initiatives. Evaluation data for this pilot project indicate that virtual and face-to-face mentoring, on-site professional development and community-building activities resulted in increased participant exposure to and engagement in the Earth system science professional community and served to better equip student participants to make informed post-baccalaureate academic and professional career decisions.
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p24
Rise and Fall of Geology in Nineteenth Century American Secondary Schools: History and Textbook Reviews
James X. Corgan, Austin Peay State University
Richard G. Stearns, Vanderbilt University
Geology was widely taught in American secondary schools during much of the nineteenth century. As geology evolved so did textbooks. As schools and teaching changed so did textbooks. This study examines nineteenth century secondary school geology texts and a crucial government report. It fits these nineteen publications into a general cultural context, tracing the gradual expansion and abrupt decline of geological education in American's nineteenth century secondary schools.
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p33
Simulating Social and Political Influences on Hazard Analysis through a Classroom Role Playing Exercise
T.C. Hales, Cardiff University
Katharine V. Cashman, University of Oregon
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p54
Earth Data, Science Writing, and Peer Review in a Large General Education Oceanography Class
William A. Prothero, Jr., University of California, Santa Barbara
Gregory J. Kelly, Penn State University
Writing assignments were introduced to a large introductory Oceanography class at UCSB. The assignments evolved, over a period of 10 years, from papers handed in to the instructor, to online peer reviewed assignments using the calibrated peer review methodology. The assignments required students to acquire and plot data and use these data plots to create scientific arguments in support of a theory. The topics addressed plate tectonics, the Indian monsoon, the Earth's climate, and the world fisheries. The course activities were managed by the EarthEd software package, which supports course management functions such as online writing and peer review, image storage and upload, auto-graded homework problems, and course grade computation. Access to Earth data is integrated within the EarthEd software through the "Our Dynamic Planet" CDROM, Global Ocean Data Viewer, and links to other data browsers available on the web. Data representations are captured as images, uploaded to the student's image library (in EarthEd) and then can be edited and linked to the writing assignment text. Convenient commenting, scoring, grade curving, and posting is also implemented. The peer review assignments were successful in providing accurate grades for students, while reducing grading by the instructor by about 70% to 80%.
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p61
Fudge Factors in Lessons on Crystallization, Rheology and Morphology of Basalt Lava Flows
A.C. Rust, University of Bristol
K.V. Cashman, University of Oregon
H.M. Wright, Monash University
Fudge is an excellent analog for basaltic lava and making or tasting fudge leads to memorable lessons on the importance of crystals in controlling the morphology of basaltic lava flows. In particular, students learn why 'a'a flows have rough broken surfaces, while pahoehoe flows are smooth or folded. Furthermore, fudge provides an interesting analog in lessons on the factors that control crystal nucleation and growth as well as how crystals affect magma rheology. Although the full process of making fudge from scratch is too long for a lecture demonstration, fudge can be incorporated into lessons on basalt flows by way of taste-tests, photographs or simplified experiments with pre-made fudge and syrup. Advanced students can run experiments during a laboratory period and examine the crystal textures under a microscope, or do their own experiments in small groups outside of the classroom. Evaluation with written quizzes shows that fudge demonstrations can be an effective aid for teaching the complex concepts of crystal nucleation and growth and their effects on basalt lava flows.
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p73
Causality in Complex Dynamic Systems: A Challenge in Earth Systems Science Education
Federica Raia, City College of New York
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/jan08.html#v56p81