2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
Paper No. 248-25
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM


GULICH, Laurissa, Department of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University, 206 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1115, gulichla@msu.edu, LIBARKIN, Julie, Geocognition Research Laboratory, 206 Natural Science, East Lansing, MI 48824, MCNEAL, Karen S., Department of Geoscience, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762, and LEDLEY, Tamara Shapiro, Center for STEM Teaching and Learning, TERC, 2067 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

Understanding how students communicate science knowledge is essential in developing effective approaches to science education. We present an in-depth analysis to how high-school students convey their knowledge about the cryosphere before and after a specially designed intervention. Student responses to two short answer questions were coded to determine the level of complexity and causality within each response. Students from three schools completed a pre- and post-test pertaining to the cryosphere. In between the tests, students completed an online EarthLabs (http://serc.carleton.edu/dev/earthlabs/cryosphere/index.html) module depicting cryosphere change over annual, decadal, and longer timescales. Time spent on this instructional intervention ranged from several hours to weeks depending on the classroom time available to the implementing teacher. Students' written responses were converted into box-and-arrow diagrams, with boxes for events and arrows for processes. Diagrams were scored in relation to numbers of boxes, arrows and connections between boxes and arrows. Qualitative and statistical comparisons between pre- and post-instructional responses provide insight into student understanding of the cryosphere. We find that some students gained deeper understanding of the cryosphere, although overall students did not increase the level of complexity in their responses. These results suggest that additional time interacting with the full EarthLabs module could improve student understanding of Earth system, particularly cryosphere, complexity.

2010 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (31 October 3 November 2010)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 248--Booth# 61
Geoscience Education (Posters)
Colorado Convention Center: Hall D
8:00 AM-6:00 PM, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 42, No. 5, p. 587

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