Making geoscientific thinking explicit
- Think aloud to students as you reason through a geoscientific question or process in the field and in the lab;
- Include an activity or reading assignment with questions that focus on one or more aspects of geoscientific thinking;
- Ask students to explore the uncertainty in climate data and topographic data rather than just the data itself;
- Add reflective prompts to existing activities that involve open-ended inquiry or research projects;
- Ask students how and why they would address a problem rather than asking them to solve the problem, such as in designing a field investigation.
As shown in the examples above, being explicit involves articulating learning outcomes that focus on geoscientific thinking skills, designing activities that allow students to both develop and reflect on those skills, and assessing not only mastery of content, but mastery of geoscientific thinking skills. Keep in mind that habits of mind require repeated experience and practice to develop. As a result, geoscientific thinking is not a topic that fits at a single point in a course or curriculum, and the way it fits in will vary for different student groups. See specific strategies for teaching geoscientific thinking to introductory geoscience students, geoscience majors, and pre-service teachers.