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What do our students really know about geophysics?

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Presentation on theme: "What do our students really know about geophysics?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What do our students really know about geophysics?


3 Challenges to conceptual understanding in the geosciences Developing understanding is complex due to the abstract nature of many topics (Ault, 1984) Topics are multidimensional and hierarchical e.g the Earth as a system requires understanding of not only concepts (descriptions), but also structure, materials, processes and interactions (causal explanations) ( Blake, 2005)

4 Student Understandings Children develop their own non-scientific explanations of events, prior to instruction (e.g. Ault, 1982, 1984, 1994) Can express scientifically accurate statements while also holding misconceptions ( e.g. Cohen & Kagan, 1979) Can recite correct definitions with no understanding (e.g. Haz et al, 1987) Understanding; description and explanation (Newton, 2000)

5 Why start with this information?

6 Making waves into your classroom Increase the quality and quantity of seismological instruction.

7 What will we accomplish? Current practice The Stretch Beyond reach at present Increase your content knowledge Provide new activities Active Learning Instructional Strategies

8 What are models? Mental Models – Generative – Involve tacit knowledge – Simplified – Constrained by worldview (Greca & Moreira, 2000; Franco & Colinvaux, 2000 ) Conceptual Model Mathematical Computer Physical Shared attributes Shared function

9 Why use models in science education? Invites interest and excitement Building mental models is the essence of constructivist learning Provides direct experience too small or too large too long or too short impractical and unsafe

10 Teaching with models Like reality - emphasize relevant elements of model & explicitly map the connection to target Unlike reality - emphasize short- comings of the model that can lead to alternative conceptions of target (Grosslight et al. 1991; Greca & Moreira, 2000)

11 Inquiry Multi-faceted activity that involves making observations, posing questions, examining information sources; planning investigations, collecting, analyzing and interpreting data, proposing answers, expiations and predictions; communicating results. (NRC, 1996)

12 Teaching for Conceptual Change The student must be dissatisfied with the current understanding. The student must have an available intelligible alternative. The alternative must seem plausible to the student. The alternative must seem fruitful (useable) to the student. (Smith,1991)

13 Argumentation Argumentation is a critical thinking skill that helps students propose, support critique, refine, justify, and defend their position. Elements – Assumptions – Claim – Evidence – Explanation

14 Formative Assessment Gots and Needs – Gots - On your XXXX sticky, write several things you “GOT” from the day’s instruction – Needs – On your XXXX sticky, write up to three things you “NEED” (e.g. more info about, clarification on, activities to cover, etc). Assessment that provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are still happening

15 Learning Cycle Instructional model for lessons and unit plans 5E Cycle – Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend, Evaluate OPERA – Open, Prior Knowledge, Explore/Explain, Reflect, Apply

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