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Geoscience Gallery Walk

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Cari Johnson, University of Utah
Course: Architecture of the Earth
30-40 students
This activity combines an assessment of prior knowledge with a survey of student interests.

The Activity

I have my students do a Gallery Walk. Questions are aimed at gauging student preconceptions about geology. For example:

  • How old is the Earth and how do we know? (They often guess carbon dating.)
  • Is global climate change "real," and should we be worried about it?
  • What topics do you look forward to learning about in this class?
  • What topics do you not look forward to learning about?

Inevitably, plate tectonics and volcanoes are a yes, but mineral ID is a no. This gives me the chance to suggest that perhaps learning about a mineral in the context of plate tectonics would be more interesting than just memorizing its name.