Student Learning of Complex Earth Systems: A Model to Guide Development of Student Expertise in Problem Solving

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session

Session Chairs

Lauren Holder, Texas A & M University
Hannah Scherer, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ
Bruce Herbert, Texas A & M University
Engaging students in authentic problem solving concerning environmental issues in near surface complex earth systems involves both developing student conceptualization of the earth as a system and applying that scientific knowledge using techniques that model those used by professionals. Problem solving is an important skill in the geosciences, and beyond, and many programs across the country believe that students should be able to work with, and suggest solutions to "wicked" or ill-structured problems. In order to address the nature of problem solving in the classroom, we reviewed the state of the geoscience education research field related to ill-structured problems, and propose a new model that applies the (1) National Research Council Science and Engineering Practices to (2) ill-structured problems surrounding complex near surface Earth systems (CNSES) within a (3) more authentic classroom. We suggest the proposed model will help to alleviate problems that arise from lack of background knowledge, lack of enthusiasm about the course or problem, and lack of critical thinking surrounding CNSES. We seek comments and suggestions to improve this proposed three-part model.