Using Tree-Ring data to Develop Critical Scientific and Mathematical Thinking Skills in Undergraduate Students

Broadening pathways to geosciences with an integrated program at the University of Michigan

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Gregory Dick

University of Michigan

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Title: Instrument-driven and Research based Teaching Strategies Using Remotely Capable EPMA and SEM Instrumentation to Transform Undergraduate Geoscience Education.Abstract: Instrument-driven and/or research based curriculum has been an effective strategy in teaching across many disciplines in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and has long been a part of science instruction. Geoscience faculty at the University of South Florida (USF), Florida International University (FIU), Florida Gulf Coast University (FCGU), and Valencia College (VC) have collaborated to develop active-learning geoscience curricula in which remotely operable analytical instrumentation available (Scanning Electron Microscope and Electron Probe Micro-Analyzer) at the Florida Center for Analytical Electron Microscopy (FCAEM) can be operated by undergraduates who collect data in real-time over the internet. In our NSF-TUES Type 2 project, we have developed in-class activities for undergraduate courses in Physical Geology, Earth Materials, Mineralogy, Petrology and Stratigraphy in order to assist interested faculty in employing these strategies and to expand the use of remote electron microscopy in undergraduate Geoscience education. The implementation of SEM and EPMA classroom activities by new faculty users is aided by free instrument time for trial runs along with instructional video tutorials and an on-site post-doctoral researcher available for remote assistance. Preliminary data show that undergraduates who have participated in instrument-based curricula have increased student achievement, and increased participation and willingness to conduct independent research projects. A critical point in the education of undergraduates in the sciences is the transitions from a passive learner to a largely independent investigator. Facilitating the transitions from a directed learner to an active researcher is a key objective of this project. Active-learning and instrument-driven integrated activities provided by this project may develop the technical and intellectual skills in undergraduates appropriate for continued research and foster the next generation of Geoscience and STEM scientists.

Hands-On Experiences with Stable Isotopes in the Geosciences Curriculum

Integrating a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) by expanding the use of online remote electron microscopy in the classroom

Undergraduate teaching modules featuring geodesy data applied to critical social topics (GETSI: GEodetic Tools for Societal Issues)

Teaching Geoethics Across the Geoscience Curriculum

Integrating First-Year Undergraduates into Research Experiences

Does Longer Engagement in Undergraduate Research Lead to a More Sophisticated Understanding of the Nature of Science? Framework for Study of a Multi-year, Curriculum-based Research Experience

Bringing Problem Solving in the Field into the Classroom: Developing and Assessing Virtual Field Trips for Teaching Sedimentary and Introductory Geology