Seeking Kosmos


Posted: Nov 18 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Temporal Thinking, History of Geosciences
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

But should we call them "lies"?


Posted: Nov 16 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Metacognition, Interpretation/Inference
Two interesting things have transpired since my previous blog post, "Telling Lies to Children."

First, Dana discovered a fabulous cartoon, the exactly speaks to the topic of the post. Wonderously, the cartoon is published under a creative commons license, so I can reproduce it here for you: More

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"Telling Lies to Children"


Posted: Oct 26 2011 by Kim Kastens & Dana Chayes
Topics: Metacognition, Interpretation/Inference

(Co-author Dana is Kim's 15-old daughter, a veteran of the New York State Earth Science Regents course, now taking integrated biology and chemistry. She is also an avid reader, currently working her way through the 42 Discworld books of Sir Terry Pratchett.)

Book cover:  Science of Discworld In The Science of Discworld, Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen make the case that education necessarily involves telling "lies to children." We realize that telling lies to children is a pretty common part of traditional parenting (Santa Claus, stork, etc.), but in school! in the citadel of learning and truth! How can this be? More

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Embedded Energy versus Embedded Cognition


Posted: Sep 7 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Energy, Solving Societal Problems

"Embedded energy" refers to the energy that was used to create an object–including mining or growing or catching the raw materials, manufacturing and assembling the pieces, transporting the raw materials and finished product, and installing the object in its place of use. A spoon, to take a simple example, required energy to mine the ore, to smelt the ore to make the metal, to shape the metal into spoon shape, plus more energy to transport ore to the smelter, metal to the factory, spoon to the store. Embedded energy is contrasted with the energy required to power or use the product during its lifetime.

There is a somewhat parallel concept, which refers to the knowledge and thinking that was required to design and perfect the object. More

You Map It; You Own It


Posted: Jul 15 2011 by Kim Kastens
Topics: Field-Based Learning
Oblique view of Lamont SeamountsClick here for video.
In honor of World Oceans Day, Google Earth has updated their coverage of seafloor bathymetry, using data from the Global Multi-Resolution Topographic (GMRT) Synthesis. The GMRT folks work upstairs from me and I love beautiful maps, so I went to check out the site. The perky voice of Google's narrator on the highlights video lures the viewer in: "Let's begin by visiting the Lamont seamounts." The screen view plunges dramatically down through the sea surface, and brings us to a line of three seamounts off the coast of Mexico.

To my eye, these weren't just any old three seamounts. I know these seamounts well. Actually, I discovered them. More

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