GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 228-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM

BUT, HOW DO WE MEASURE THAT? (Invited Presentation)

BURSZTYN, Natalie, Quest University, 3200 University Blvd, Squamish, BC V8B0N8, Canada

There is a call for improved science communication in and out of the classroom, and assessing its efficacy. Are watercolors derived from basalt and deliberately dropped knit stitches effective means of communicating geoscience concepts? With the growing implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in the United States, the strength of models and multiple modalities of representation in science education has been gaining more recognition. Models are primarily visual, but can be physical, digital, or conceptual; verbal, gestural, or mathematical; but are all tools for communicating science concepts. Model based inquiry, a way of teaching the scientific method, uses the anchoring phenomenon of the NGSS to merge the productive engagement of students and the practices of learning science. These practices include building scientific explanations of the world and communicating those ideas. Ideally the learner is able to effectively convey their understanding to a broad audience, but science communication is not simply the transfer of information from scientist to public. Developing scientific literacy requires a dynamic, personalized and participatory process that changes the learner’s worldview. Science communicators need to find ways to connect with the public that expand the limitations of traditional media and implement more user-centered design: going beyond using images just to “illustrate” written material. But, how do we measure the effectiveness of these modalities? Can we take scientific models one step further, and consider the beneficial learning environment of making? Consider how the hobbyist’s knowledge of aspects of their craft extends beyond the immediate skill and is applied in other practices of their life. Making aligns with problem solving curriculum, empowers learners to engage in new forms of thinking, is tolerant of errors, requires experimentation, and advocates for a growth mindset. But, how do we measure the value of making? This talk discusses examples of creative student projects for geoscience courses of all levels that cross the STEAM boundary. The projects use various art forms including painting, knitting, and tactile models for the visually impaired to communicate geoscience concepts to a wide audience. But, how can their educational value be quantified?