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What precursor understandings underlie the ability to make meaning from data?


Posted: Jun 6 2013 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Research Idea, Interpretation/Inference, Temporal Thinking, Metacognition

I've been thinking a lot recently about how scientists and students make meaning from data, spurred in part by the Earth Cube education end-users workshop. Among other things, I've been trying to understand what kinds of deeply foundational understandings might be constructed by young children through unstructured observation using the human senses, and then later re-purposed as they begin to work with data.

Here is one candidate: Future data users need to understand that:

  • events in the world leave traces, and
  • by looking the traces, we can make inferences about the events.
  • More

    Comments (1)

Too Fast to Measure


Posted: Jul 10 2012 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Temporal Thinking, Perception/Observation, Interpretation/Inference

Cover of Synthesis volume I'm thrilled to report that the book that grew out of the Synthesis project, the parent project of this blog, is now out: Earth & Mind II: A Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences, Geological Society of America Special Publication 486, edited by Cathy Manduca and myself. It's available from the Geological Society of America bookstore

However, having shared my thrill at holding the book in my hands, I have to admit that there are some ideas in the book that I have already outgrown during the months that the book has been in production. More

Seeking Kosmos


Posted: Nov 18 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: History of Geosciences, Temporal Thinking
I've been working on a set of concept maps showing major domains of geoscientific thinking as part of the Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences. One tendril of the "Temporal Thinking in Geosciences" concept map branches off to depict "Historical sciences."

Concept map of Historical Sciences
As described in an earlier post on temporal thinking, these are fields of science or scholarship that pay careful attention to the timing and sequence of events, and use timing and sequence to provide constraints on causality. Our concept map shows nodes for Cosmology, Geology & Paleontology, Archeology, History, and Developmental Psychology. More

Learning to Learn from Data


Posted: Feb 15 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Spatial Thinking, Interpretation/Inference, Field-Based Learning, Metacognition, Quantitative Thinking, Temporal Thinking
Scientists learn from data. Learning to learn from data is obviously an essential aspect of the education of a future scientist.

These days, however, many other kinds of people also learn from data–including business people, investors, education leaders, and people who care about pollution, disease, or the quality of their local schools. My daily newspaper is rich in data-based graphs and maps–and so is the newsletter from my local library. These days, learning to learn from data is a necessary part of everyone's education.

However, learning to learn from data is not a typical part of everyone's education. This post explores what might be required to construct a thorough learning progression for learning from Earth Science data, beginning where a good elementary school leaves off and carrying on through to what an upper level college course or adult job might demand. More

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Does Memory Integrate over Time?


Posted: Oct 4 2010 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Perception/Observation, Temporal Thinking

Warning: This post is mostly not about Geosciences. But it is an idea that grew in my mind as I worked on the previous post about temporal thinking in geosciences, so you're going to hear about it anyhow, dear reader. There is one idea about evolution at the very end.

I have the sense that my memory integrates over time. Here's what I mean More

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