Poster Session IV: The Undergraduate Classroom and Lab Courses II

Friday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online
Poster Session

Session Chairs

Jeffrey Templeton, Western Oregon University
Lisa Grant Ludwig, University of California-Irvine

This poster session will be held from 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET on Friday. All Rendezvous participants are invited to attend. Sessions will include 4-6 posters on similar topics and will start with presentation of a 1-minute lightning talk for each poster, followed by panel discussions among authors and Rendezvous participants to address common themes. Zoom sessions will allow authors to move into Breakout Rooms for more specific discussions with Rendezvous participants.

Presenter Guidelines

The Undergraduate Classroom and Lab Courses II

A New Method of Making and Observing Rock thin-sections for Classrooms
Yoshio Okamoto, Osaka-Kyoiku University (part-time)

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Rock thin-sections are the essential tools for studying geology at K12 or college-level classrooms. They can change boring lectures about rocks to fascinating practices. However, due to the difficulties of preparation, there are a few attempts to use rock thin sections as teaching tools in K12 classrooms. In this regard, we try to improve such conditions using cheap, mass-produced tools, which can be purchased from DIY stores or online net shops(Okamoto, 2020b). For example, a bench grinder and a kitchen knife sharpener are used for a rock saw, and a grinder with costs less than 100USD each. Also, low-cost diamond blades and wet stones less than 30USD are employed as consumables. Our project has simplified and sophisticated the section fabrication technic to a level where even high school students can do it. At the same time, for easy watching thin sections in a classroom, we developed an alternative way instead of using high expensive polarized microscopes. Our handmade polarized units can let an ordinary microscope as a polarized one. Low-cost binocular microscopes and USB microscopes are used for this thin section watching(Okamoto, 2020a). These low-cost polarized microscopes can be used for the petrological study to identify pleochroism, interference colors, extinction angles, textures, etc. In recent days, we are uploading many thin section images with captions as an online thin section library for school use on our website ( Also, 3D printed parts and some freeware are now improving our kit-making process and thin section photography. An overview of our methods and recent developments will be presented in the meeting.
GeoGateway for Learning about Crustal Deformation, Data Analysis and Applications
Lisa Grant Ludwig, University of California-Irvine
Megan Mirkhanian, University of California-Irvine
Andrea Donnellan, California Institute of Technology
Jay W. Parker, California Institute of Technology

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Science gateways allow users to access shared data, software and services. GeoGateway ( is a solid earth geoscience gateway that provides tools for scientific discovery, field use, and disaster response using Interferometric SAR (InSAR) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) integrated with earthquake faults, seismicity, and model data. GeoGateway was initially developed for researchers to analyze and model crustal deformation related to fault slip and earthquakes. Two highlights of GeoGateway are interactive map displays of global GNSS-based land deformation and thousands of radar images from the NASA airborne platform (UAVSAR). Applications have been expanded to include earthquake nowcasting, and analysis of wildfire burn areas and debris flows for disaster response. We are expanding GeoGateway to include educational applications. To make GeoGateway accessible to a broad audience, we developed a GeoGateway User Guide and example applications. Preliminary exercises and tutorials were tested in the classroom at CalPoly Pomona in 2018, and in workshops at the Seismological Society of America 2019 Meeting, and Geological Society of America 2020 Meeting. We are now developing additional example exercises for use as undergraduate class exercises or problem sets in a variety of geoscience and disaster response classes.
Seeking to Recreate Lightning in a Bottle: Reflecting on Assignments Used in an Integrated Science Course for Preservice Teachers
Caitlin Callahan, Grand Valley State University

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This poster tells the story of two assignments I included in a course for preservice K-8 teachers during the 2020-2021 academic year. Both assignments had this similar broad goal: to provide an opportunity for the students to focus on their identity as future teachers. Both assignments had this structure: 1) students made a choice about the content they would read or watch; 2) students then shared their observations and reflections with a small group of classmates; and 3) the small groups then presented a synthesis of their discussion to the whole class. In the first assignment, each student selected and read a profile of a scientist featured in the "Cool Jobs" section of the "Science News for Students" website. Notably, these profiles include a diversity of individuals as well as a diversity of careers. In the second assignment, students chose at least one online, recorded, publicly-available panel discussion related to science teaching. The panel options included: 1) "The Challenge of Creating Equity in Science Education" (STEM Teacher Leadership Network); 2) "Differing Abilities in STEM" (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education); and 3) "Inspiring STEM Interest" (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education). Small group and class discussions occurred via Zoom and made use of the Jamboard application within Google. The rubrics for these assignments prompted specific details in students' reflections. In actuality, students' reflections revealed the potential for such resources to add new insights into their future role as teachers. This poster shares details of the assignments as completed by students in this initial iteration and invites viewers to discuss plans for future implementations.
How to tell the Story of the Earth: Three lab exercises for Historical Geology
Virginia Sisson, University of Houston-University Park
Daniel Hauptvogel, University of Houston-University Park

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Student engagement is easy to encourage in introductory lab courses. We have developed an open access lab book for Historical Geology. Here we focus on three different lab exercises to show how we can use simple exercises to get students engaged in research beyond simple observations. We went beyond place based learning as we have found that students are curious to learn more about places that they have not been. So, the new exercises are a global tour of geology including the Andes Mountains, Alaska, Great Britain, Brazil, Morocco, Himalayas, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Canada in addition to the traditional US centric locations like the Grand Canyon, Appalachians, Texas, and Rocky Mountains as well as Mars and Jurassic Park! For example, instead of just identifying the textures and names of metamorphic rocks, there is an exercise interpreting metamorphic rocks as a result of ridge subduction in southern Alaska. Instead of just learning the sequence of phyllite, schist and gneiss, the student will put these into the context of an unusual geothermal gradient. For fossil preservation, the students compare fossils exposed around the edge of the Delaware Basin. These include delicately preserved fossils in the Glass Mountains to impressions in the Guadalupe Mountains. They need to speculate why these two exposures of the same reef have such different modes of preservation. The final exercise is to use maps and cross-sections of New Jersey to identify the geologic provinces that relate to four different tectonic events. Students in the Fall 2020 semester first used a digital, pre-release version of the labbook; a difficult semester due to the transition to online learning during the pandemic. Our focus on student engagement results in observing and thinking rather than read and repeat. This works to promote active and engaged learning with students.
Using Field and Laboratory Studies of Pyroclastic Deposits to Engage Students in the Scientific Process and Promote Development of Professional Skills
Jeffrey Templeton, Western Oregon University

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The dynamic volcanic landscape of the Pacific Northwest provides an ideal framework for teaching undergraduate students about fundamental volcanology concepts, as well as core geoscience and professional skills. This poster describes a teaching activity, consisting of a series of linked exercises that employ field observations, data collection, and granulometric analyses to interpret pyroclastic deposits in central Oregon. Given the modular nature of this activity, different exercises can be conducted depending on the resources available to individual instructors. For the field component, students work in teams to construct a stratigraphic column, describe the characteristics of their interval, obtain samples, and collect pumice and lithic size data. In the laboratory, student groups sieve their sample and determine weights for each size fraction. As a follow-up exercise, students graph the grain-size data for all of the class samples, determine select phi values, calculate parameters using published formulas to characterize sorting, and make interpretations about the pyroclastic deposits. The culminating exercise is a writing assignment in which students, from the perspective of a USGS volcanologist, prepare a report for the Bend City Council to address regional volcanic hazards.This activity engages students in the scientific process, through observation, data analysis, and interpretation. Students gain experience communicating results in written form to a diverse audience. Team work and collaboration are built into the activity through group field and laboratory work. Student skill development can be assessed using a set of post-activity questions, which require students to graph and analyze data from unknown pyroclastic deposits and interpret their origin. Student performance on the culminating paper can also be assessed in the context of program outcomes. This activity can be used for program assessment, as it dovetails with geoscience education initiatives, emphasizing broader scale objectives of preparing future geoscientists to solve challenging problems in the 21st century.
Testing the implementation and impact of a gamification plugin for Canvas LMS in an introductory physical geology course
Cinzia Cervato, Iowa State University
Imtiajul Alam, Iowa State University
Michael G. Brown, Iowa State University
Larysa Nadolny, Iowa State University

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This poster illustrates the results of the implementation of a personalized gamified dashboard integrated into the Learning Management System (LMS) of a large-enrollment introductory physical geology course. While there is literature on the impact of geoscience-themed games on student learning, gamification is still a new concept in geosciences, particularly technology-based. The dashboard, called Delphinium, includes the most widely used gamification components, e.g., progress trackers, badges, rewards, and a leaderboard, to offer individual students accomplishment and instrumental goals to motivate them to engage with the course content organized in modules in the LMS. We measured the impact of this single gamification component on the performance of students enrolled in one section of the course (N=137) and compared it to the performance of students enrolled in a second section (N=86) taught in person by the same instructor in fall 2019. We compared the number of times users accessed the dashboard and the number of page views from the LMS, exam scores, and final grades. Students in both sections completed the Science Literacy Concept Inventory (SLCI) at the beginning and end of the semester. Using their SLCI score as control, students with access to Delphinium performed on average 13% better than students in the control section. Analysis of LMS data showed that students in the gamified section accessed the LMS more frequently and that the dashboard provided them with an early and significant advantage in the course.