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

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM


CRIDER, Juliet G., Geology, Western Washington Univ, 516 High Street, MS 9080, Bellingham, WA 98225, COOKE, Michele L., Geosciences, Univ of Massachusetts, 611 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01003-9297, JIANG, Dazhi, Department of Geology, Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, RESOR, Phillip, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Wesleyan Univ, 265 Church Street, Middletown, CT 06459, STIMAC, John P., Geology/Geography, Eastern Illinois Univ, Charleston, IL 61920-3099, TIKOFF, Basil, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, 1215 W. Dayton St, Madison, WI 53706 and TORO, Jaime, Depart. of Geology & Geography, West Virginia Univ, 425 White Hall, Morgantown, WV 26506, criderj@cc.wwu.edu

Models are useful for teaching about the scientific process and the complex phenomena we investigate. Stimac et al. (this session) introduce the Modeling Structural Processes resource collection, initiated at the Teaching Structural Geology in the 21st Century (TSG21) summer workshop. The TSG21 Modeling resource collection will catalog analog and mathematical models useful for teaching. From a topical standpoint, such models are used to illustrate 1) geometries of structures, 2) properties of rocks, and 3) deformation processes. Models also address a number of other learning objectives. In this contribution, we describe some other learning goals that may be addressed using models in the classroom, and we showcase modeling exercises from the TSG21 resource collection that address those learning goals.

Models can be used to improve student learning by engaging students with the material; building students' intuition about geometry, properties or process; and addressing multiple learning styles. Models are useful for guiding students to make careful observations, in preparation for "noisier" field experiences. Models may be used to develop students' quantitative literacy, especially when analog and mathematical models are paired. Quantitative literacy may be honed as students perform data collection and analysis in a modeling exercise. Projects involving hypothesis generation and testing are readily accomplished with analog and mathematical models. Ultimately, students may learn to critically evaluate models with respect to the structural geologic process they are meant to represent. Teaching with models engages students in the practice of science, in which the development, application and evaluation of models is central.