The final results of this project are now available.

Earth and Mind II: A Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences ( This site may be offline. ) (2012) Edited by K. Kastens, and C.A. Manduca, GSA Special Paper 486 (ISBN: 9780813724867)
GSA Press release about the book ( This site may be offline. )

How Geoscientists Think and Learn (2009) Kastens, K., C.A. Manduca, C. Cervato, R. Frodeman, C. Goodwin, L.S. Lieben, D.W. Mogk, T.C. Spangler, N.A. Stillings, and S. Titus, Eos Trans. AGU, 90(31), 265.

Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences

Kim Kastens, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Cathy Manduca, SERC, Carleton College, PIs

This project will synthesize existing knowledge and articulate unanswered questions in critical areas of research on cognition and learning relevant to the Geosciences. Geosciences encompass the study of the oceans, atmosphere, and solid earth, plus interactions between these physical systems and living systems. Within the domain of geoscience learning, our study will focus on four themes:

Each of these areas plays a central role in how human beings think about the Earth and learn to think about the Earth, and each poses substantial cognitive challenges. In addition, we seek to understand how geoscientists integrate these different types of learning in drawing inferences about the Earth.

The centerpiece of our work plan is to gather a small group of experts in geosciences, geoscience education, research on learning, and cognitive science at an isolated field station for a week-long learning/brainstorming/writing retreat. The writing retreat will be preceded by a smaller two-day planning and scoping meeting, at which we articulate major questions on each of our four themes, and identify a subset that have sufficient research base to be ripe for synthesis. Our findings will be disseminated through a suite of papers in a special issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education, on the widely-used "Teach the Earth" Web Portal, and in a journal that reaches the learning sciences community. This plan builds on four years of continuing effort to strengthen the cognitive and learning sciences research base underpinning geoscience education.

Join the conversation and discuss these and other related issues at the Earth and Mind Blog!

Sessions at Professional Society Meetings

2009 GSA Session: The Nature of Geoscience Expertise

See abstracts, posters, and presentations from participants in the session convened by the Synthesis group at the Geological Society of America meeting in Portland.

2010 AGU Session: The Development of Geoscientists: From Novice to Professional

See abstracts, posters, and presentations from participants in the session at the fall American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant #DRL07-22268. Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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