TEN YEARS OF SILC RESEARCH ON SPATIAL THINKING AND LEARNING IN GEOSCIENCE: WHAT WE'VE LEARNED AND PRODUCED
We will present a suite of the tools that we have developed through this collaboration, and in the process will describe many of the lessons we have learned along the way. Our typology of spatial thinking skills in the geosciences provides a theoretical framework for understanding the cognitive challenges inherent in spatial tasks in the geosciences. Our spatial thinking tests provide means for measuring students’ abilities to mentally fold, slice through, or un-fault faulted objects. Our research into the most effective use of common teaching strategies – including gesture, sketching, and analogy – offer insights into best practices in classroom teaching. Our curricular materials, incorporating what we have learned from that research, support the development of undergraduate students’ spatial thinking skills and also offer models for others to develop or revise their own teaching materials. Our curricular materials include two dozen sketching exercises for Physical Geology courses – utilizing a sketch recognition software, for automated grading – and two dozen Spatial Workbook exercises for upper-level undergraduate Geology courses, all available via the SERC website.