GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 74-2
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM


MCLEOD, Claire, Department of Geology & Environmental Earth Sciences, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056 and STERN, Robert, Department of Geosciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX 75080

Designing and establishing an enjoyable learning environment motivates students and helps them remain focused on the topic. Specifically in the Earth Sciences, a number of approaches have been taken in recent years including e.g. poetry, cartoons, social media and most recently card games such as “Mineral Supertrumps” (Spandler, 2016 J Geosci Ed.). There are however, few studies documenting the effectiveness of games as pedagogical aids. This work aims to evaluate the impact of integrating GBL into an upper level Petrology class using a 52 + 4 “joker” card deck redesigned to include plate tectonic settings as the suits (e.g. divergent) with common rock-forming minerals in each suit (e.g. olivine, quartz). Chemistry and mineral properties are also printed on the “Mantle Boy” cards. In Spring 2019, in an upper division petrology course, students (n=18) were assigned a group-based homework that required them to design a game which would permit players to apply their knowledge and understanding of course content, and which was directly aligned with specific course learning goals. Following assignment completion, students were asked a series of questions on a Likert scale (Strongly Disagree-Strongly Agree): Q1. I enjoyed designing a card game; Q2. The process of designing a card game helped improve my understanding; Q3. The process of designing a card game helped me apply my understanding; Q4. I would recommend this assignment remain in the course curriculum. 94% (17 of 18) students responded Strongly Agree (50%) or Agree (44%) to Q1. 83% responded Strongly Agree (44%) or Agree (38%) to Q2. 89% responded Strongly Agree (61%) or Agree (28%) to both Q3 and Q4. Related content-based questions were also asked in the midterm (pre) and final (post) exam in order to help evaluate student learning gains. Results from this assessment will be presented, along with the games designed, in order to demonstrate the potential GBL has for assisting student learning in the geosciences.