Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM
USING GSI (GEOSCIENCE INVESTIGATIONS) TO EXPOSE AND ENGAGE STUDENTS TO SCIENCE
I bring place-based research experiences to my general education students with a series of exercises I call GeoScience Investigations (GSI) that I have recently added to my Survey of Earth Science class, and is worth 15% of the class grade. Students have to select 3 of 5 GSI exercises; 3 are on-campus simulated research experiences (place-based) where the students work in collaborative groups, and 2 can be completed at home where the student works alone. They are designed and selected to provide as much opportunity for the student to become exposed to the nature of science; where data are collected, analyzed and interpreted. The 3 on-campus GSI’s involve (1) mineral and rock identification, (2) study of the Blackberry Creek Watershed that Waubonsee Community College is in, and (3) study of samples from a recent mastodont excavation (Aurora Mastodont Project – Matrix Analyses Project). The 2 ‘home-based’ GSI’s involve (4) use of ‘citizen science’ web-based projects, and (5) a semester-long study of the setting or rising sun. Anecdotally, the students generally do well on these exercises, and their class grades are favorably affected. Post-assignment survey’s of the on-campus GSI’s are generally favorable, but can be variable depending upon the particular aspects of a GSI (i.e., level of critical thinking, research conditions and protocols). Some are excited about their first exposure to scientific inquiry and the process of science, and some are not.