Long Demonstrations, Set #3

Session #4 (Tuesday 10:30) , repeated in Session #8 (Friday 8:30)

L3A: Potpourri on Assessment (Michael Williams, University of Massachusetts, Amherst). Developing meaningful examinations in lecture and lab is one of the most challenging aspects of teaching structural geology. The goals are to provide a measure of learning, add to comprehension, and build confidence. However, time pressure especially when solving complex map problems can result in frustration or discouragement. This session will be an open discussion of various approaches and strategies. Please bring examples, ideas, and frustrations.

L3B: Designing Effective Peer Teaching (Jigsaw) Activities for Structural Geology (Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College). The jigsaw technique is a fabulous and very versatile technique for designing classroom, lab, and field activities that promote self-teaching, peer-teaching, and discussion among students. This session will offer specific instruction on how to design jigsaw assignments effectively, how to make jigsaw assignments work in classroom, lab, and field settings, and how to plan jigsaw assignments that don't take up any more classroom time than lecturing on the same topic.

L3C: Mentally Visualizing Large Geologic Structures from Field Observations (Kim Kastens and Toru Ishikawa, Columbia University). Thinking about a structure in three dimensions, based on limited observations available in the field, is an important skill required for structural geologists, but many students have difficulty with it. To examine how people develop this skill, we are conducting an experimental study using "artificial outcrops." Participants in this session will walk through a mock-up of our experimental set-up, and then compare their approaches to the problem, as experienced structural geologists, with the approaches of the novice participants in our study. We will also discuss the relevant cognitive science literature, with a particular focus on underlying spatial abilities.

L3D: Using Interactive Visualizations to Prepare Students for the Field (Steve Reynolds, Arizona State University). We have created many interactive QuickTime Virtual Reality movies with the specific goal of helping students improve their abilities in the 3D aspects of geology. In Structural Geology, we do exercises that begin with teaching students to visualize and locate points on topographic maps, then help them see the internal structure of interactive geologic blocks and how planes intersect topography, and finish with having them map inclined and folded layers from 3D perspectives and geologic maps draped over digital topography. We have found these materials greatly help students in later field studies -- they can find themselves on topographic maps, understand the geometry of exposed layers, and are not timid about drawing contacts they observe in the field.

L3E: Composite session on writing in structural geology courses, with the following 5 short presentations:
  • Reading from the Primary Literature (Cameron Davidson, Carleton College). In the structural geology course at Carleton we read approximately one paper per week from the primary literature during a ten-week term. At the beginning of the term, students sign up in groups of two to be responsible for presenting the main point(s) of a given paper in a ~15 minute presentation, and for leading the following discussion. Everyone in the course reads the paper and submits three questions based on the reading prior to the presentation and discussion session. These questions are compiled (with names), and sent to the class the night before the presentation. I find these sessions to be a great way to kick start discussions that last throughout the term. The students like the responsibility of leading the group, and get real satisfaction from reading and understanding the geoscience literature.
  • Using Field Lab Write-ups to Develop Observational and Critical Thinking Skills (Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College). Field labs provide a great opportunity for students to practice making and interpreting their own observations. The process of writing about their descriptions and interpretations can push students to make more complete observations and to defend their interpretations in greater depth. This session will discuss ways to adapt field labs and lab write-ups to enhance observational, critical thinking, and writing skills.
  • Case Study of a Deformed Region: Writing and Presentation (Michelle Markley, Mt. Holyoke College). This activity focuses on the published literature about one major structure (for example, the Moine Thrust or the San Andreas). In GSA-style presentations, each student orally presents the methods, results, and interpretations of articles to the other students. Then each student writes a paper that incorporates the material from many of the presentations. This activity is the final project for the class (it takes the place of the final exam), and its strength is that students read, think, and talk as structural geologists.
  • Writing and Revising Short Assignments (Jan Tullis, Brown University). Practise in clear and concise writing is a worthwhile goal in part because it helps students to practise clear thinking about complex concepts and processes. In this session, specific examples will be given of how several short writing assignments (rather than one long `term paper') can be used to get students writing early and often. The strategy includes peer reviews and incentive for numerous revisions.
  • Using Written Critiques of Journal Articles to Foster Analytical Thinking (Steve Wojtal, Oberlin College). Asking students to write 1-2 page critiques of journal articles two or three times during a semester is an excellent way to induce them to examine sources other than textbooks, to address topics at a level of detail beyond that attainable in lectures or laboratory assignments, and to consider a theme from different perspectives during the course. Writing a critique requires students to think analytically, articulate and organize their thoughts, and present their thoughts in a short paper. Since writing and thinking are deeply interconnected, these exercises foster analytical thinking.