Using Cooperative-Learning Methods to Teach Quantitative Material in an Undergraduate Geophysics Course

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Earth science, teaching and curriculum, education, geoscience, education, undergraduate, geophysics, general

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Students responded enthusiastically to the introduction of a mix of cooperative learning activities and short lectures in a small undergraduate exploration geophysics class. The group learning activities were aimed at easing the transition to quantitative problem-solving for geoscience students. The activities highlighted connections between mathematical equations and physical reality. They also targeted specific skills, including “reading” equations and graphs for meaning and estimating and checking solutions. Student groups discussed questions, developed computer spreadsheets, and analyzed realistic data. Student evaluations of all aspects of the course were higher for a class taught with a short lecture/cooperative-learning mix than for a class taught in traditional lecture format.

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Journal of Geological Education, v. 43, issue 4, p. 357-360