Spatial Reasoning with GeoClick Questions

Initial Publication Date: June 29, 2021

Nicole D. LaDue, Northern Illinois University

Thomas F. Shipley, Temple University

What are GeoClick Questions?

GeoClick questions are conceptual, open-ended questions using geoscience images that engage students in reasoning about spatial geoscience phenomena (LaDue & Shipley, 2018, 2020). Administered through a web-based application (e.g., PollEverywhere, Top Hat, etc.), students respond to the questions by clicking directly on the image. The spatial distribution of responses provides instructors and students with rapid spatial feedback about the nature of students' errors and an opportunity to engage in reasoning with peers about the scientific processes involved.

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Why Teach Spatial Reasoning with GeoClick Questions?

Geoscience phenomena involve reasoning across multiple spatial and temporal scales (Cheek, LaDue, and Shipley, 2017). GeoClick questions target specific conceptual challenges associated with understanding geoscience processes and geoscience images (e.g., photos, diagrams, maps). Utilizing GeoClick questions in large enrollment courses with peer collaboration is more time economical than other approaches used to engage students in spatial reasoning (e.g., sketching, gesturing).
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How to Teach Spatial Reasoning with GeoClick Questions

There are a variety of starting points for developing GeoClick questions. Instructors may want to start with images that students struggle to understand or specific skills they wish to cultivate. GeoClick questions should be implemented using the same approach as other conceptual formative assessment questions - engaging students in answering questions individually, then discussing their responses with peers before re-responding to the question.
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Examples of Teaching Spatial Reasoning with GeoClick questions


LaDue, N. D., & Shipley, T. F. (2018). Click-on-diagram questions: A new tool to study conceptions using classroom response systems. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 27(6), 492-507.

LaDue, N. D., & Shipley, T. F. (2020). Click-on-Diagram Questions: Using Clickers to Engage Students in Visual-Spatial Reasoning. In Active Learning in College Science (pp. 159-171). Springer, Cham.

Development of this page was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation #1835950. The Principal Investigators are grateful for contributions from: Glenn Dolphin, for feedback on the question wording and data collection; Zo Kreager & Dylan Blaum for developing and revising images used in these questions; and Jessica Ackerman for data management and developing example pages based on this work.

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