Teaching Geoscientific Thinking
The methods and ways of thinking that are intrinsic to Earth science differ in important ways from the experimental procedures that are commonly taught in schools as the scientific method. For example, geoscientists make direct observations of the Earth in the field, compile multiple lines of evidence, engage spatial and temporal reasoning, and place their work in the context of the complex Earth system (Manduca and Kastens, 2012).
Students in all disciplines can benefit from a better understanding of the way that geoscientists think and reason through a question, whether they are geoscience majors who will do research, education majors who will teach geoscience, economics majors who will assess the value of a resource or the impacts of climate change, or anyone who will need to make informed decisions about the risk of encountering a natural hazard.
Resources for learning more about teaching geoscientific thinking
- What is geoscientific thinking? describes the concepts included and how people different people approach these concepts.
- Making geoscientific thinking explicit describes some simple strategies to use in your teaching to help students think like geoscientists.
- Explore more targeted strategies for teaching geoscientific thinking to different student audiences:
- Read accounts from faculty about how they incorporate geoscientific thinking into their teaching.
- Explore the literature about geoscientific thinking including geoscientific habits of mind, the nature and methods of geoscience, and teaching and learning.
- Explore the program of the 2012 Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop. Browse courses and activities submitted by participants.
Share your knowledge
- Submit a teaching activity of your own that explicitly engages students in geoscientific thinking.
- if you have previously submitted an activity to the SERC collection that addresses geoscientific thinking, you may submit an activity supplement to highlight how the activity addresses geoscientific thinking.
- Submit a course description that showcase the ways in which you teach geoscientific thinking.
- if you have already submitted a course to the SERC collection incorporates geoscientific thinking, you may submit a course supplement to highlight how the course addresses geoscientific thinking.
- Contribute a resource like a reference or visualization.