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The Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience
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GO Inquire System

Erin E. Peters
,
George Mason University
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Summary

GO Inquire is an online tool used to develop knowledge and skills of 4th grade science students in the concepts of erosion, transportation and deposition.

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Context

Audience

This online system has been tested with 4th grade students in America - there is also a Spanish version being tested with ESOL students and with students in Peru.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students need to have a set of experiences with terrain, but nothing formal. For example, students who have an experience of watching water rush down a hill would have enough experience for this activity.

How the activity is situated in the course

This was an activity used within an erosion unit at the 4th grade level.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Ultimately, we would like students to view terrain in the way a geomorphologist does - looking for high/low areas and the like.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must compare their answers with the answers of peers, compile the commonalities and differences, and justify their logical decisions. Additionally, students need to synthesize all variables to see the connection among them.

Other skills goals for this activity

Reading and writing are additional skills that are built into this system.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students use their observation skills to identify four sets of variables of soil: 1) hard/soft, 2) intact/loose, 3) high/low, and 4) steep/shallow. They also interact with peers to come to consensus about the characteristics that influence erosion, transportation and deposition.

Metacognitive components of the activity

Students view pictures and must choose the high/low, steep/shallow, loose/intact, and soft/hard portions of the soil. When they stamp that portion, they must consider prior experiences and observations that made them think about their choice.

Metacognitive goals for this activity:

Students are expected to connect their decisions with the prior knowledge activated and sythesized to logically choose the position.

Assessing students' metacognition

Dissertation work by Dr. John Baek has shown that students who can explicate their reasons for location choice in observations have more detailed and accurate explanations (conclusions).

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students can accurately identify a picture for geomorphic qualitities that they have not actually visited. Transfer of the skills learned in the online system.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs


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