Northeastern Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (12–14 March 2007)

Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM


KORTZ, Karen M., Physics Department, Community College of Rhode Island, 1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln, RI 02865, MURRAY, Daniel P., Geosciences, Univ of Rhode Island, Woodward Hall, Kingston, RI 02881 and JAGER, Jessica, Department of Physical Sciences, San Jose City College, 2100 Moorpark Avenue, San Jose, CA 95128,

In order to reduce student misconceptions in introductory geology classes, we created and tested Lecture Tutorials (LT), a set of worksheets that students complete in small groups in class after the instructor gives a short lecture. Lecture Tutorials are useful in making a classroom more student-centered because they allow students to interact with each other and apply concepts just taught. They are specifically designed to tackle common misconceptions of students and often incorporate a Student 1 vs. Student 2 debate where one “student” states a commonly held misconception and the other “student” expresses the accepted scientific explanation. The students in the class then discuss the two statements and decide with which one they agree.

Currently, we have constructed Lecture Tutorials for a wide range of topics, a sampling of which includes the following: the interpretation of plate boundaries, the relation of grain size and rate of crystallization in igneous rocks, the conditions under which earthquakes generate life-threatening tsunamis. These Lecture Tutorials have been tested with pre- and post- questions at three different schools (two community colleges and one state university). Students scored an average of 60% on multiple choice questions asked after the lecture but before students completed the Lecture Tutorial. After the Lecture Tutorial, the students' average score increased to 79%. A subset of these questions is from the reliable and validated Geoscience Concept Inventory (GCI). On the GCI questions, students scored 62% on the questions asked before the Lecture Tutorial but after lecture, and the scores improved to 79% after the Lecture Tutorial.

Our presentation will include examples of Lecture Tutorials, as well as access to the complete set of Lecture Tutorials developed to date.