Workshop Overview

The workshop will provide opportunities to understand the role of the affective domain in learning and to discuss the application of this understanding to specific examples in the geosciences including evolution and environmental issues. We will showcase teaching that takes into account the affective domain including examples of strategies for addressing student attitudes, increasing motivation for learning, and mechanisms for measuring shifts in attitude.

The goals of the workshop are to:

  • Develop a more sophisticated understanding of the specific roles that the affective domain plays in geoscience learning including circumstances where cognitive learning is helped or hindered.
  • Consider ways in which teaching can address the role of the affective domain and collect examples of current practice
  • Explore the interplay of student values and perceptions in two case studies: teaching evolution and teaching environmental issues.
  • Collect examples of assessments and observation protocols that shed light on the affective domain.
  • Create a network of leaders in geoscience education and cognitive science who can increase the geoscience communities' understanding of the roles of the affective domain in teaching and learning.

Workshop activities will include presentations about energy science and policy, demonstrations of teaching methods, large and small group discussions, and planning/writing sessions. Instructional materials and other information will be organized and compiled as collections of digital resources for use in the Earth Sciences throughout the world.

This workshop is one of the 2000-2009 emerging themes offerings which are designed to move critical ideas and concepts into the mainstream of geoscience education. Participants are sought who are leaders in the field and are committed to participating in follow-on activities. For further information of emerging theme workshops, potential follow-on activities, and action plans investigate our general description of these workshops or examples from recent workshops such as The Role of Metacognition in Teaching Geoscience, Teaching about the Early Earth and Urban Students, Urban Issues.


The workshop will begin on Sunday afternoon, May 17, 2009 and will end after dinner on Tuesday, May 19. Participants must attend all sessions. The field trip is optional and will be held on Wednesday, May 20.


Participants are expected to:

  • Contribute a narrative essay for the website about ways in which the affective domain has been a formative part of their teaching experience. The essay will include discussion of a classroom experience, its impact on their teaching, plus follow-up actions, assessment or research that has been conducted. (See example essays)
  • Contribute to website resource collections prior to and following the workshop
  • Prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, writings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders
  • Participate fully in the entire workshop
  • Be leaders in follow-on activities


The operational costs of the workshop as well as room, board, and workshop materials are covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-0127310). Participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. In cases of unusual hardship, we will be able to offer a few small stipends to help defray travel costs (Application deadline April 3, 2009). For more information about travel funds please visit the workshop stipends page.

Application and Selection Criteria

Your application must be submitted by March 9, 2009. The workshop size is limited to 30 participants. The final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group with expertise in geoscience education, the role of the affective domain in learning and the application of this understanding to geoscience learning, as well as, a spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, and a diversity of participants. Preference is given to applicants who hold faculty positions at colleges and universities. Applicants will be notified of selection in mid-December. For more information visit the general information for workshop participants page.


The workshop will be held at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Participants will be housed in a hotel and will eat meals on campus and in the town.

For More Information

Please contact Cathy Manduca (, 507 222-7096).