2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
Paper No. 192-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF A VOLCANO TEACHING WITH A 3-D VIRTUAL VOLCANO SIMULATION

PARHAM, Thomas L. Jr1, BOUDREAUX, Hollie2, BIBLE, Paul2, STELLING, Pete3, CRUZ-NIERA, Carolina2, CERVATO, Cinzia4, and GALLUS, William A. Jr5, (1) Geological & Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, tparhamjr@gmail.com, (2) Computer Science, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 537 Cajundome Boulevard, Lafayette, LA 70506, (3) Geology, Western Washington University, 516 High St, Bellingham, WA 98225, (4) Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State Univ, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011, (5) Dept. of Geological & Atmospheric Sciences, Iowa State University, 253 Science I, Ames, IA 50011

Recent work on undergraduate students has identified numerous misconceptions related to volcanoes and plate tectonics. Factors controlling when and how volcanoes erupt appear particularly misunderstood, and many students are not able to accurately predict the natural hazards that a specific volcano is likely to generate, nor visualize internal structures. Many students also report that they have learned more about volcanoes from effects-driven Hollywood films than from traditional sources, such as textbooks. Highly interactive computer-based teaching tools may provide a means to efficiently address common misconceptions, particularly among students who do not learn well in traditional settings. As part of the Interactive Virtual Earth Science Teaching (InVEST) project, the Virtual Volcano simulation has been specifically designed to assist instructors in countering misconceptions about volcanic eruptions and associated hazards. This platform-independent software allows students to explore volcanic systems in a visually rich three-dimensional environment. Students are able to select a volcano from a world map and can then manipulate slider controls for SiO2 content (by wt %), volatile content (by wt %), and magma temperature (ºC) in order to generate a simulated eruption. The 3-D environment allows students to observe the events of an eruption from any perspective they desire, be it watching gas bubbles rise through the volcanic neck, or standing in the path of a massive pyroclastic flow (and living to tell the tale). An on-screen variable readout features scientifically accurate data to facilitate student analysis in associated lab work. Allowing students experimental controls makes Virtual Volcano is ideally suited for use in an introductory-level geoscience laboratory setting. Moreover, the exploratory nature of the simulation lends itself well to implementation via the science writing heuristic, a guided-inquiry writing-to-learn pedagogical model, wherein students make and test their own hypotheses. Preliminary testing of lab activities featuring Virtual Volcano is currently underway at Iowa State University. Discussion will present details of the software and activity design, as well as preliminary results from the testing.

2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 192--Booth# 364
From Virtual Globes to Geoblogs: Digital Innovations in Geoscience Research, Education, and Outreach (Posters)
Oregon Convention Center: Hall A
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 41, No. 7, p. 500

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