What is Geoscientific Thinking?
This page draws from presentations and discussion at the 2012 Teaching the Methods of Geoscience Workshop.
We use the phrase geoscientific thinking to encompass the ideas that describe what makes geoscience unique as a discipline yet still clearly part of science as a whole, including:
- The methods of investigation used by geoscientists, which rely on descriptive studies and modeling over experimental techniques;
- The habits of mind developed by geoscientists, which describe skills and approaches intrinsic to problem solving in the geosciences, such as spatial and temporal reasoning;
- The nature of geoscience, which refers to the theory of knowledge and the values and beliefs behind geoscience: in other words, its philosophical underpinnings.
- In An Outsider Looks at Geoscience: Methods, Content, Pedagogy, and Partnerships, George "Pinky" Nelson, former director of AAAS's Project 2061, discusses the role of K-12 science standards in promoting and teaching the methods and processes of science, and where geoscience fits in (or hasn't fit in).
- Carol Cleland, a philosopher of science, focuses on the nature of geoscience, debunking the myth that descriptive sciences aren't falsifiable in Common Cause Explanation and the Search for the "Smoking Gun".
- Kip Ault, a professor in teacher education, focuses on the importance of time as a unifying concept for understanding the nature of geoscience in Teaching the Geosciences as a Subversive Activity: It's About Time.
- Cathy Manduca and Kim Kastens, both geoscientists who became more involved in geoscience education and cognition, describe a common set of perspectives, approaches, and values that characterizes the study of geosciences in Geoscience and Geoscientists: Uniquely equipped to study the Earth .