MARGINS Data in the Classroom > What are Mini-Lessons?

What are Mini-Lessons?

MARGINS Mini-Lessons are modular learning materials that repurpose the data resources, visualizations, and other information sources developed through MARGINS and MARGINS-related research for use in examining fundamental earth processes in undergraduate classrooms from a multidisciplinary perspective.

MARGINS Mini-lessons are based on best practices in geoscience pedagogy and in the construction of digital educational products. As a means of making this collection very broadly applicable, several different types of learning materials are being developed:

Web-deliverable Laboratory/Classroom Exercises

This form of Mini-Lesson encompasses exercises and activities that can be downloaded in their entirety from the website. These are available at several scales and are suitable for use in either introductory or upper-level geoscience courses. Larger Mini-Lessons are scaled for use as a full laboratory session or across several lecture meetings, while the smaller Lessons may be annotated sets of visualizations, short interactive activities, or other materials for use within a lecture or laboratory session.

Workshop participants are requested to submit a mini-lesson example as a part of their registration. We are soliciting mini-lesson contributions from the MARGINS community as well. As an example of a mini-lesson, you can check out Plate Tectonics as Expressed in Geological Landforms and Events created by Jeff Ryan from the University of South Florida.

See the full collection of mini-lessons.

Virtual Expeditions

These Mini-Lessons aim to bring the results of the MARGINS research into undergraduate classrooms and laboratories across a number of courses (oceanography, marine geology, tectonics, geophysics, structural geology, petrology). Each module consists of 20-25 linked web pages that trace the development of specific research projects through a combination of short video segments, process-based animations, interactive graphics, and real-time data from land and ocean observatories. This approach to learning is driven by a series of linked questions that progressively increase in sophistication, much like the evolution of a research project. These questions lead students through the process of scientific discovery while learning about MARGINS research. Examples of materials incorporated in the virtual expeditions include brief 3-5 minute video segments in which MARGINS scientists distill their research into its essential questions and discuss the methods by which these questions are being addressed. Students then virtually join the process of data acquisition, either shipboard, in the field, or in the laboratory. Students next participate in the data analysis in multiple disciplines to test hypotheses, draw conclusions, and cite supporting evidence. In some cases, the students generate a professional quality abstract that outlines the entire research experience, which can then submitted to peer review, for example Calibrated Peer Review.

Example of Virtual Expedition: Expedition on the Bay, created by Don Reed at the San José State University Department of Geology.