2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 8:45 AM


CULPEPPER, Steven A., Human Services, Metropolitan State College of Denver, Denver, CO 80217, RAPP, David N., School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2120 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60202, KIRKBY, Kent, Geology and Geophysics, Univ of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455 and MORIN, Paul J., Geology and Geophysics, Univ of Minnesota, 310 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, rappx009@umn.edu

Novice Earth Science students often have difficulty visualizing three-dimensional interpretations of flat, two-dimensional displays. In this study, we examined conditions that might facilitate such processes for completion of a common classroom activity – understanding topographic maps. Novice Earth Science students studied standard topographic maps, maps that included shading, maps that included stereo visualization, or maps with both stereo visualization and shading. Students answered line-of-sight questions about information in the maps. These questions required students to visualize route-perspectives while actually using a survey perspective. Stereo visualization was a more effective cue than shading. Additionally, students' background characteristics also influenced their performance. These results suggest that novel visualizations of topographic maps may be effective at helping students perform complex mental transformations to solve problems.