Designing Activities to Engage Students and Enhance Learning in Mathematically-Intensive Geoscience Courses

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am SERC 108B
Workshop

Conveners

Casey Davenport, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Lauren Decker, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Zachary Handlos, Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
John Knox, University of Georgia

Across the geosciences, math is used to represent physical processes within the Earth system. However, students routinely struggle to make connections between equations and real-world applications. In this workshop, participants will develop their own hands-on, student-centered (i.e., active learning) activity that can be readily used within their own mathematically-intensive geoscience courses.

Overview

Across the geosciences, math is used to represent physical processes within the Earth system. However, students routinely struggle to make connections between equations and real-world applications. Thus, the goal of this workshop is to provide participants an opportunity to develop their own hands-on, student-centered (i.e., active learning) activity that participants can then readily use within their own mathematically-intensive geoscience courses (e.g. atmospheric dynamics, oceanography, geophysics, or any related courses with math content) to improve student engagement and understanding. Participants will design, within disciplinary and/or course-specific groups, one active learning exercise or activity designed to tackle a mathematically-intensive topic, then lead the workshop in participation of the designed activity, and finally share the activity within an online repository to become available to the broader community.

Workshop Program »

Target Audience

This workshop is designed for any faculty member or teaching assistant that teaches or assists with mathematically-intensive physical science courses (e.g., atmospheric dynamics, thermodynamics, oceanography, geophysics, etc) at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Courses can be at the introductory or advanced level.

Goals

  • Goal 1: Meet and get to know colleagues who teach, and care about teaching, mathematically-intensive geoscience content
  • Goal 2: Learn about the benefits of student-centered, active learning course activities
  • Goal 3: Fully develop, within disciplinary and/or course-specific groups, one active learning exercise or activity designed to tackle a mathematically-intensive topic
  • Goal 4: Develop a repository to share hands-on activities created during this workshop

Format

The first day will introduce participants to the benefits of student-centered learning and why it should be incorporated into their courses. Participants will also have time to get to know one another and share their instructional struggles of mathematically-intensive geoscience content. The remaining time on the first day will be used to let participants generate ideas in small groups for how to tackle specific mathematically-intensive topics in their own classes. The second day will provide time for everyone to continue developing their activities and receive feedback from the large group. Lastly, on the third day, participants will finalize their activities and then give brief demonstrations to the full group. All materials generated for each activity will be shared with everyone in a repository.

Workshop Program »


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