THE GEOSCIENCE CONCEPT CRYSTAL: A MAP TO FACILITATE DEVELOPMENT OF WELL-ALIGNED UNDERGRADUATE GEOSCIENCE CURRICULA AND ASSESSMENTS
The group first based the strand map on learning objectives and skills that they and their institutions felt were necessary for students to have mastered at the end of an introductory geoscience course. These were then reorganized and refined into the current strand map, which we call the Geoscience Concept Crystal (GCC). The organizing themes of the GCC are: People and Geoscience, the Nature of Geoscience, Geoscience Systems, and Deep Time. The Nature of Geoscience, Geoscience Systems, and Deep Time occur at the same plane (level) in the concept crystal that represents the philosophy of geoscience, the guiding principles by which geoscientists operate. The next level down in the concept crystal is where most of a typical syllabus and curriculum lie. This level includes the subthemes: Geoscience Inquiry, Geoscience Processes, and Geoscience Phenomena.
We envision at least two important applications of the Geoscience Concept Crystal: 1. as a guide for curriculum and course development; and 2. the development and evaluation of assessments aligned with the map and therefore the most important knowledge and skills in geoscience. We will present examples of both applications.