As part of a major constructivist-based, science-reform movement at our university, we have developed a type of in-class exercise we call a slide observation. The pedagogical sequence we follow during a slide observation is a learning cycle, consisting of three phases: exploration, term and concept introduction, and concept application. The exploration phase involves students observing a geological photograph, listing observations, and posing questions and possible explanations. We then have them think-pair-share and contribute their observations to the entire class. This is followed by a term- and concept-introduction phase, involving instructor-guided introduction of terms and elaboration of concepts, starting from the student observations and questions. The final concept-application phase of the learning cycle involves application, extension, and generalization of the lesson to new situations or locales. A learning-cycle approach is constructivist in philosophy because the students use their own observations and thoughts to construct personal concepts and mental frameworks. Slide observations engage the students and help them have fun, become more actively involved in their learning, develop critical-thinking skills, distinguish observation from interpretation, and practice communication with their peers.
- Earth science - teaching and curriculum
- Education - geoscience
- Education - undergraduate
- Geology - teaching and curriculum
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)