Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


MERRIMAN, Jesse1, ROBERT, Genevieve1 and CEYLAN, Gina M.2, (1)Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia, 101 Geology Building, Columbia, MO 65211, (2)Science Education, University of Missouri, 321 Towsend Hall, Columbia, MO 65211,

As an expansion of universal design for learning, IDL provides a framework for opening up and adapting classroom interaction systems, minimizing barriers through promoting perception, engagement, expression, and accommodation for diverse learners. We implemented an introductory-level laboratory for communicating the concept of magma viscosity using the guidelines and principles of IDL. We developed the lab as a mini-implementation project for an IDL course offered by the University of Missouri (MU) Graduate School. The laboratory was subsequently taught during the summer session of Principles of Geology in our Department of Geological Sciences.

Traditional geology laboratories rely heavily on visual aids, either physical (rocks and minerals) or representative (idealized cartoons of processes, videos), with very few alternative representations and descriptions made available to the students. Our main focus for this new lab was to diversify the means of representation available to the students (and instructor) to make the lab as equitable and flexible as possible. We considered potential barriers to learning arising from the physical lab environment, from the means of representation, engagement and expression, and tried to minimize them upfront.

We centred the laboratory on the link between volcano shape and viscosity as an applied way to convey that viscosity is the resistance to flow. The learning goal was to have the students observe that more viscous eruptives resulted in steeper-sided volcanoes through experimentation. Students built their own volcanoes by erupting lava (foods of various viscosities) onto the Earth’s surface (a piece of sturdy cardboard with a hole for the “vent”) through a conduit (pastry bag). Such a hands on lab exercise allows students to gain a tactile and visual, i.e., physical representation of an abstract concept. This specific exercise was supported by other, more traditional, means of representation (e.g., lecture, videos, cartoons, 3D models, online resources, textbook) in lecture and lab.

We will discuss the details of the design, the implementation experience, and the insights for lab improvement in future iterations. This exercise represents the initial steps toward (re)designing introductory geoscience labs to more effectively include diverse learners.