JGE 1994 - Volume 42


A Cooperative Approach to Teaching Mineral Identification
Terri Lynn Constantopoulos, Eastern New Mexico University
A new approach to teaching mineral and rock identification, based on cooperative learning, was implemented at Eastern Mexico University to boost achievement and motivation in freshmen-level geology labs. Cooperative learnign, a concept based on group work in which the students are responsible for others' learning as well as their own, has proven successdul in improving student achievement and motivation. Jigsaw Teaching, a cooperative learning approach, was modified and applied to mineral and rock identification as well. Students work in groups of four and are responsible for learnign to identify 20 minerals. Each student within the group becomes an "expert" on five of the 20 minerals, then the student "experts" take turns teaching the other members of the group how to identify their five minerals. By the time the group finishes, each student has learned to identify all 20 minerals. All of the students have a stake in the assignment and are actively involved in learning. Furthermore, teaching other students reinforces what each student has learned about mineral identification. As a result, grades have improved and the lab has become a positive learning environment, thereby fostering participation, motivation, and enthusiasm. Keywords: Education - geoscience; education - laboratory; education - undergraduate; geology - teaching and curriculum.
Full Text (Acrobat (PDF) 1.8MB Feb28 06)
URL for this article: http://www.nagt.org/nagt/jge/abstracts/1994.html#v42n2p261