TEACHING QUANTITATIVE CONCEPTS IN AN INTRODUCTORY HYDROGEOLOGY CLASS
A variety of strategies can be used to teach such content in a manner that simplifies some of these concepts. During the first week of the course, a review of fundamental quantitative skills not only provides the instructor with information regarding the quantitative skill level of the students, but provides the students with a resource for the semester and the expectation that quantitative skills will be a necessity. This review should include concepts of scientific notation, dimensional analysis, significant figures, averages, and graphing. Then, the use of various methods such as demonstrations, visual aids, role-playing, and repetition throughout the course will continue to reinforce fundamental quantitative skills and increase student understanding of the more mathematically complex material. For example, Darcy’s law can be explored with a jigsaw. First students are assigned to experiment in one of three groups: K, n, or hydraulic gradients. Then teams comprised of one “expert” from each of the three groups develop Darcy’s Law based on the understanding of their individual concepts. Initial assessment indicates the use of several methods to introduce a quantitative concept, such as Darcy’s Law, improves student understanding of that concept.