Paper No. 82-9
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM
FROM FIELD TO LAB: THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING THROUGH INVESTIGATION
Geoscience education at its best instills a sense of awe for the workings of the planet we live on and an appreciation for the ways in which we can come to understand more about this complicated system. It prepares us to form opinions and make decisions about the ways in which we individually and collectively will interact with the planet, and it launches some of us into careers at the interface between humans and the Earth. The Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Academy Press, 2012) puts forth a vision for achieving this type of education emphasizing the importance of simultaneously learning scientific practices, concepts that cut across the scientific disciplines, and core ideas from a discipline. Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12 (National Academy Press, 2019), concludes that the most effective way to implement this type of teaching is to put investigations and design at the center of learning describing an approach that motivates learning of specific content in the context of a problem to be investigated or solved.
Research can be viewed as learning that places investigation at the center, the practice now advocated by the National Academies for effective K-12 science education aligned with the goals of liberal learning. Dr. RA Wobus describes himself as ‘a long-time proponent of the value of research as the signature element of an undergraduate science education.’ He supervised and mentored 48 honors students in his 55 years of teaching at Williams College, was instrumental in establishment of the WAMSIP and Keck Geology consortia that have supported undergraduate research opportunities for more than 1400 students, and was a founding member of the Geology Council of the Council on Undergraduate Research. His dedication to teaching through research was also apparent in the design of his courses and laboratories. This presentation explores the importance of investigation in the undergraduate geoscience curriculum with inspiration from his teaching.