College Students' Understanding of Geological Concepts: Earth Structure and Processes
Earth's interior and structure, volcanoes, and earthquakes, all concepts that are taught in introductory geology courses. Each of the participants made drawings and a concept map to represent how they understood and connected these geologic concepts. Explanations,drawings and concept maps were compared across groups--undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty member--to understand the conceptions and reasoning schemes of
novices and experts. We were able to identify a continuum of conceptual understanding,including non-scientific conceptions. We include a discussion of reasoning patterns that
could prevent students from understanding and connecting geologic concepts like experts in the field do.