Special Issue "Educating for Geoscience"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Those privileged and wealthy enough to go to school in the late nineteenth century would have been exposed to some current geoscience concepts and issues largely based on the work of Charles Lyell (and perhaps Darwin), if you were lucky. Most national (and state-wide) curricula have undergone many changes over the last century or so, and geoscience has nearly always struggled for existence within these frameworks, being subject to modification and manipulation. Developing a better conceptual understanding of how the earth works does not happen on its own—it requires significant academic and pedagogic infrastructure. Geoscience education is a key factor in the academic, scientific, and professional progress of any modern society. The IUGS Commission on Geoscience Education, Training and Technology Transfer (IUGS-COGE) was established in 2004 to examine and develop programs to assist developed and developing countries to maintain, expand, or introduce better earth science education, outreach, and technology transfer within their own countries. Geoscience education is essential as it provides opportunities for social/cultural, academic, scientific, and professional growth and development. As David Thompson of Keele University and a founder of the International Geoscience Education Organisation (IGEO) once said, one has to educate the politicians first about the vitality of teaching and learning the earth sciences. We sincerely hope that this Special Issue will inform, inspire, and educate our readers about the importance of the geosciences for the health and well-being of all people and other living things on this finite planet.

Prof. Dr. Jesus Martinez-Frias
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Geoscience education
  • Curricula
  • Conceptual understanding
  • social relevance

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Improved Concept Map-Based Teaching to Promote a Holistic Earth System View
Geosciences 2020, 10(1), 8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences10010008 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2623
Abstract
Like some other countries, seldom being sometimes addressed in classes, the Earth system approach is not emphasized enough in Portugal, nor is the interconnection between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. To evaluate the Earth system holistic view of a group of 8th [...] Read more.
Like some other countries, seldom being sometimes addressed in classes, the Earth system approach is not emphasized enough in Portugal, nor is the interconnection between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. To evaluate the Earth system holistic view of a group of 8th grade (13–15 years old) Portuguese students from a public school of the north of Portugal, an improved conceptual map-based to approach Earth system was investigated. After learning about concept mapping, students were asked to collaborate in the production of four conceptual maps regarding each one of the geochemical and biogeochemical cycles, further combining these maps in a common one. Through teamwork-based task, each group was asked to establish relations between the cycles, integrated into each one of the four Earth subsystems. The final combined maps demonstrated that, in the first phase, students had some difficulties in completing the pre-designed improved maps, being more evident in the rock cycle. Contrarily, the food chain cycle revealed fewer mistakes and more appropriate terms were added. In the second phase, the students exhibited difficulties in relating the cycles to the four subsystems and the remaining cycles, drawing many arrows without any kind of connecting words. Nevertheless, in general, students have realized how to build an improved concept map but do not possess a holistic view of the Earth system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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Article
A Problem-Based Learning Approach Enhancing Students’ Awareness of Natural Risks and Hazards in Italian Schools
Geosciences 2019, 9(7), 283; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences9070283 - 26 Jun 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1272
Abstract
The goal of the present research is to contribute to spreading in Italian schools greater awareness of the dangers derived from natural phenomena, such as landslides, floods or earthquakes. The essential steps are: developing the understanding of the territory’s inevitable evolution (derived from [...] Read more.
The goal of the present research is to contribute to spreading in Italian schools greater awareness of the dangers derived from natural phenomena, such as landslides, floods or earthquakes. The essential steps are: developing the understanding of the territory’s inevitable evolution (derived from natural geological phenomena that normally concern it); raising the awareness of dynamics regarding the territory in which one lives (through geological and historical analysis of the context); and finally recognizing the speed and frequency with which different natural phenomena occur, and the surface they might affect. Thereafter, the research’s next step is gaining the awareness that these phenomena may become actual risks and cause damage, in relation to the territory’s use and vulnerability. Finally, its last step is realizing that knowledge on such dynamics is needed for risk-prevention and reduction in vulnerable contexts. In fact, it seems that, until these natural manifestations remain far from students’ everyday lives, they are not adequately acknowledged. Moreover, since it has been proven that the usual transmissive approach to the subject is not effective, a problem-based learning approach was experimented. The path was defined through disciplinary objectives and through developing and monitoring specific skills. During experimentation, investigative and practical activities showed an interesting growth of the involved students’ skills and competences. The research’s double aim of raising greater awareness of environmental dynamics and risks, and of developing greater technical skills and sense of citizenship among students (also concerning the observation and recognition of relationships) seems to have been achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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Article
How Glaciers Function and How They Create Landforms: Testing the Effectiveness of Fieldwork on Students’ Mental Models—A Case Study from the Sanabria Lake (NW Spain)
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 238; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences9050238 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1305
Abstract
This paper analyzes the impact of fieldwork on the development of students’ mental models concerning glaciers and their effects on the landscape. Data were collected by means of an open-ended questionnaire that was administered to 279 pre-service teachers before and after an educational [...] Read more.
This paper analyzes the impact of fieldwork on the development of students’ mental models concerning glaciers and their effects on the landscape. Data were collected by means of an open-ended questionnaire that was administered to 279 pre-service teachers before and after an educational field trip, which analyzed its impact on short-term and long-term outcomes. In general, students’ mental models about how glaciers function and how they create landforms are relatively simplistic and incomplete. Students are unaware of the major erosional properties associated with glaciers and many of them do not specify that glaciers are bodies of ice that have a tendency to move down slope. The analysis of the data yielded four mental model categories. Fieldwork influenced the short-term effects on mental model development even though its positive impact decreases over time. Mental models including scientific views were only found in the post-instruction group. On the other hand, the pre-instruction group was strongly influenced by a catastrophic event that occurred in the region in 1959 (the Ribadelago flooding), which interferes with students’ mental reasoning on the formation of landscape features. This way of thinking is reinforced and/or mixed with a religious myth (Villaverde de Lucerna legend), which also invokes a catastrophic origin of the lake. In this case, this includes mystic flooding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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Article
Geological Map of a Treasure Chest of Geodiversity: The Lavagnina Lakes Area (Alessandria, Italy)
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 229; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences9050229 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1618
Abstract
The aim of this work is to present a new georeferenced geological map of an area in the Ligurian Western Alps (Lavagnina Lakes area) that includes both a unique geodiversity and great biodiversity, a peculiar geological heritage, and cultural features. The study area [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to present a new georeferenced geological map of an area in the Ligurian Western Alps (Lavagnina Lakes area) that includes both a unique geodiversity and great biodiversity, a peculiar geological heritage, and cultural features. The study area is located in the northern part of the Capanne di Marcarolo Regional Natural Park, occurring in the southern Piedmont Region (Alessandria, NW Italy) and close to the suburbs of Genoa. This area has been studied by multi-disciplinary scientific researchers who, so far, have focused their attention on the occurrence of alkaline springs and investigation of different endemic floral species. Moreover, in the past, the Lavagnina Lakes area has been exploited due to the presence of gold mineralization, and several mining records are still visible. We performed detailed geological mapping at a 1:10,000 scale, and collected data that were later integrated into a digital GIS map. The database associated with the map contains information that may be interesting from different points of view: (i) scientific research; (ii) outreach and dissemination activities; and (iii) geotourism (i.e., trail networks and panoramic viewpoints). The area represents a section of the Jurassic Piedmont Ligurian oceanic lithosphere, showing several geologic processes on different scales, such as the serpentinization process and intense and widespread carbonation of ultramafic rocks; the area is, moreover, characterized by fault systems showing paleoseismic structures. Beyond scientific research activities (i.e., geology, geoarchaeology, and mining archaeology), the area can also be promoted for geotourism, outreach and dissemination activities, field trips for schools, and gold panning activities. Hence, our new digital map and our 3D model could be a useful tool to illustrate the main characteristics of the area, leading a non-expert public to explore different geological features in a relatively “small” area. In this way, our map could help to improve geotourism, be used as a tool for educational activities, and, finally, could also help the Capanne di Marcarolo Regional Natural Park to be recognized as a geopark. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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Article
What Pattern of Progression in Geoscience Fieldwork can be Recognised by Geoscience Educators?
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 192; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences9050192 - 26 Apr 2019
Viewed by 1242
Abstract
The question in the title was addressed by dividing the elements of geoscience fieldwork into eight different strands and then subdividing these into different items addressed during fieldwork. Separate small groups of experienced geoscience educators (mainly geology teachers of 16–18-year-old and younger students) [...] Read more.
The question in the title was addressed by dividing the elements of geoscience fieldwork into eight different strands and then subdividing these into different items addressed during fieldwork. Separate small groups of experienced geoscience educators (mainly geology teachers of 16–18-year-old and younger students) were then asked to sort the items for each strand into order, from the most simple to the most difficult, and then to assign the items to levels of difficulty identified in the progression of scientific skills given in the National Curriculum for Science in England. The results indicate that, whilst those involved found the exercise fairly difficult, nevertheless it was possible to identify an agreed progression in each of the strands. It is hoped that this exercise will provoke geoscience educators to carry out further research into progression in geoscience fieldwork education, enabling them to confirm such a progression. Meanwhile raising awareness amongst teachers of geoscience fieldwork that there is the opportunity to teach elements of fieldwork in order of increasing difficulty, as identified in the research, should enable them to plan more effective progression in their fieldwork teaching. The strategy and methodology used could also enhance professional development in the teaching of geoscience fieldwork. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Educating for Geoscience)
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