Paper No. 57-11
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM
USING INTEGRATE’S “LIVING ON THE EDGE” TEACHING MATERIALS IN A TWO-YEAR-COLLEGE PHYSICAL GEOLOGY CLASSROOM: ENHANCING THE SOCIETAL RELEVANCE OF PLATE TECTONIC HAZARDS AND RISKS
Until recently my two-year college physical geology students, primarily non-STEM majors taking the course to fulfill general education requirements, learned about plate tectonics over two-three class periods (3 hours each) at the beginning of the semester by lecture and lab exercises focused on fundamental plate tectonic concepts. Subsequently throughout the semester new topics (such as earthquakes or igneous processes) were placed into the context of plate tectonics. Since Spring 2016 I have changed my strategy, dedicating three additional class periods to plate tectonic case studies following the same introductory lessons. These supplementary teaching materials, adapted from InTeGrate’s freely available “Living on the Edge” module, use real data from actual plate boundary locations and involve students in risk assessment and mitigation/communication strategies associated with plate boundary hazards that pose risks to nearby towns and cities. This provides a human element that takes students out of the “memorize for the test” mode and into a deeper understanding of why and how society addresses plate boundary hazards. For my students, it also underscores earth as a system by including topics that I would typically reserve for later in the course, such as liquefaction, lahars, earthquake recurrence intervals, and volcanic eruption pre-cursors. The pedagogical design of the activities, focused on group work, role-playing, and data interpretation, fosters a student-centered classroom in which the instructor plays the role of a facilitator rather than a lecturer. Some students find this instructional style disorienting at first because they expect science classes to require memorization of long lists of facts, rather than involving data interpretation and judgement calls (e.g., Should we maintain or raise the advisory level for a potential volcanic eruption based on the new data we have?). However, most students acclimate to the format after one or two activities and enjoy the active learning style and working collaboratively with their peers. Teasdale and others (2018) discuss how the materials improve student learning, self-efficacy, and the perceived value of geologic monitoring. This presentation will examine GPS time series data from the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland.