2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 265-7
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


ARTHURS, Leilani, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 330 Bessey Hall, P.O. Box 880340, Lincoln, NE 68588, larthurs2@unl.edu

Identification and explicit integration of students’ preconceptions and prior knowledge into classroom instruction is a research-based strategy demonstrated to facilitate learning (e.g., Bransford et al., 1999), and it was used to teach about energy resources and sustainability in an introductory-level college non-lab geoscience course. The course was taught every other semester for four years by the same instructor at two large state universities in the United States. Course enrollment by semester ranged between 56 and 230 students, with a total of 434 students engaged in the course. Presented in this work are (i) the formative assessments used to discover students’ preconceptions and prior knowledge about petroleum and sustainability, (ii) identified conceptual challenges and (mis)conceptions associated with petroleum and sustainability; and (iii) two instructional approaches used to facilitate conceptual understanding of what petroleum is and where it comes from. One of the instructional approaches is based on a technique of comparing/contrasting with coal and the other is based on a technique of scaffolding from what was previously learned in the course about groundwater.