2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM


WUNDERLE, Marcus and LIBARKIN, Julie C., Geological Sciences, Ohio Univ, 316 Clippinger Labs, Athens, OH 45701, mw111899@ohiou.edu

Forty students from introductory geology at Ohio University have been interviewed and 110 in-service science educators have been questioned via questionnaires in order to determine alternative conceptions about plate tectonics held by pre- and in-service educators and other undergraduate students. A proposal was submitted to and approved by the Ohio University research council for approval to use human subjects in a research study. Interviews follow a loosely structured interview protocol assuring that each participant is questioned along similar topics. Questionnaires are structured around four basic questions concerning plate tectonics and collect demographic information from educators. Preliminary findings indicate that students are familiar with plate tectonic concepts prior to instruction and hold a number of common alternative conceptions about the location of tectonic plates, the formation of mountains, and the cause of earthquakes and volcanoes. Preliminary findings also indicate that in-service educators hold similar alternative conceptions as interviewed students. A potential outcome of this research is to inform the education community about specific plate tectonics conceptions held by pre-service educators. This is a first step in providing educators with the tools to modify alternative conceptions held by both pre-service educators and other students.