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

Paper No. 123-6
Presentation Time: 10:15 AM


PINTO, Luisa, Departament of Geology, Universidad de Chile, Plaza Ercilla 803, Santiago Centro, Santiago, Providencia, Chile, lpinto@ing.uchile.cl

In courses of structural geology has been seen that students have serious difficulties in understanding the geometries associated with different types of geological structures such as faults and folds affecting rocks. They mainly do not clearly visualize the sub-surface geometries. These difficulties in learning of spatial structures are related to teaching styles traditionally used. Normally 2D profile images or diagram blocks are used, the field works are scarce or the structures have a regional scale, which prevents a proper understanding of the spatiality of them.

Experience teaching in structural geology at college level suggests that the most effective way of teaching spatial structures is achieved through the use of analog modeling. When the student performs analog models can actually visualize the 3D spatial relationship of structures in profile or 3D block plant with a laboratory scale. This tangible learning to develop spatial ability should begin in the school education to be intuitive in the higher education. Various topics of crustal deformation are part of the curricular bases of the basic education in many countries, which are related to plate tectonics. However, the most of school’s teachers have not been adequately prepared to teach them.

That is why we have developed an analog device modeling adapted to the teaching of the compressive deformation of the upper crust for different levels of education, from school to college. The development of this device considers the generation of 3 prototypes that will be validated in the classroom to make the adjustments necessary for its improvement. The first prototype has been validated: a) with children between 6 and 8 years; b) with school’s teachers of natural sciences, and c) with college students.

Early results indicate that: a) the use of a device modeling causes great student motivation to learn; b) a contextualization of the deformation of the rocks regarding familiar processes for students as mountain building is needed; c) a meaningful development of spatial skills consider that the student should be able to look at the analog model from different angles; d) the student can also incorporate the temporal variable understanding the evolution of deformation in the event you can participate in the modeling process.

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