ACTION, REFLECTION, EXPLANATION, CONNECTION (AREC): USING AN INQUIRY- AND FIELD-BASED APPLICATION OF THE TIMES MODEL (TEACHING INQUIRY-BASED MINNESOTA EARTH SCIENCE) TO FACILITATE SCIENCE LITERACY AND TO MODEL THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD IN A FIELD COURSE DESIGNED FOR NON-SCIENCE MAJORS
The course context is narrowly defined, using only one or two aspects of Minnesotas geology (e.g. volcanic, plutonic and metamorphic; glacial; caves, karst and ancient seaways; or fluvial geology). Students are asked to practice making observations in order to develop the ability to see at different scales. They are given a geologic or topographic map, diagram, graph or set of rocks and asked to describe what they see, using any terms that seem to apply. Since most students do not have any background in Earth Science, they struggle with this first attempt because often it is the first time they have been asked to document their observations. However, after having some time to discuss their observations with one another and reflect on the experience as a whole, they begin to value the process, become curious about the observations they have made and actively solicit more information so they can complete the picture that they have begun to unravel.
Over the three days that we are in the field, the students repeatedly make detailed observations, pose questions about what they see, and begin to see patterns emerge. By the end of the trip, these non-science majors have pieced together for themselves, the relationships between field localities that characterize the geologic processes and features related to focus of the course.