2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


TOBIN, Kenneth J.1, BENNETT III, Marvin E.1, PEREZ, Jesus1, SALINAS, Kristina and LOZANO, Joseph, (1)Center for Earth and Environmental Studies, Texas A&M Int'l Univ, 5201 University Blvd, Laredo, TX 78041, ktobin@tamiu.edu

The TAMIU geosciences faculty has established a partnership with the Laredo Children’s Museum (LCM) to facilitate informal learning focusing on geosciences education in the South Texas Borderlands region. A very successful outreach activity developed in collaboration with the LCM is a hydrologic cycle game targeting children ages 8 to 12. This game simulates the movement of a water molecule throughout the hydrologic cycle. The first player to infiltrate in the groundwater reservoir is the winner. At the end of April, 2004 we field-tested this game in conjunction with a local educational fair sponsored by the Children’s Museum (Dia de los Ninos). The reaction to the game by the children that played it was uniformly positive. To support the educational impact of this game we developed a game facilitator questionnaire to allow the collection of basic statistics (age, gender) about game participants. Additionally, we developed a series of pre-game and post-game quizzes for game participants to evaluate whether playing the game has a significant educational impact in terms of increasing participant’s knowledge about the hydrological cycle. Preliminary results are presented in this paper reflecting a series of games (n=16) played from June 29 to July 5, 2004 in Eagle Pass, Texas; a town of 20,000 on the Mexican-Texas border. Ninety children ages seven to seventeen participated. Not surprisingly, post-game quiz scores are significantly higher (probability, P=95 to 99%) than pre-game quiz scores. Male’s score significantly lower on pre-game quizzes than females and yet both genders score nearly the same on post-game quizzes. Additionally, individuals greater than or equal to 10 years of age experienced a greater increase between pre- and post-game quiz scores than children less than 10 years of age. These results require further validation that will occur with additional game series scheduled at different locations throughout South Texas during the summer of 2004.