GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 66-11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


PETCOVIC, Heather L., Department of Geosciences and The Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 W Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5241, TINIGIN, Laura, Department of Geosciences and the Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 West Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, POPE, Allen, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder, 216 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309, BURSZTYN, Natalie, Geology, California State University, Fullerton, 800 N State College Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92831, ORMAND, Carol J., Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College St, Northfield, MN 55057 and LADUE, Nicole, Geology and Environmental Geosciences, Northern Illinois University, 302 Davis Hall, Normal Road, DeKalb, IL 60115,

Empirical work over the past decade supports the notion that a high level of spatial thinking skill is critical to success in the geosciences. In this study, we focus on sense of scale, which refers to how an individual quantifies space, and is thought to develop through kinesthetic experiences. Field-based learning, therefore, may be important for helping students develop their sense of scale. Yet in many cases, fieldwork is neither feasible nor economical. Remote sensing data are increasingly being used for wide-reaching and high impact research. A sense of scale is critical to many areas of the geosciences, including understanding and interpreting remotely sensed imagery.

In this exploratory study, students (N=15) in a geoscience education class at California State University Fullerton engaged in a classroom exercise designed to mirror how a field-based activity might impact their sense of scale and develop their conceptions of pixels in remotely sensed imagery. Prior to the activity, students completed the Scale of Objects Questionnaire and an open-ended Concepts of Pixels questionnaire. Students interrogated field radiometry data in a GIS representing a 1 m square (representing a WorldView sensor’s pixel), a 30 m square (a Landsat pixel) and a 500 m square (a MODIS pixel). This was repeated in two different areas, one with homogenous reflectance, and another with heterogeneous reflectance. After the exercise, students again completed the Concepts of Pixels instrument and a demographic survey, and an optional journal reflection entry on the class activity.

Here we will share the effects and efficacy of the classroom exercise and compare it with a similar field-based intervention to teach remote sensing concepts. This study investigates potential relationships between students’ concepts of pixels and sense of scale as well as the relative success of classroom vs. field-based interventions.

  • Petcovic_etal_PIXEL_poster_GSA2016.pdf (11.1 MB)