Changes in Student Knowledge and Views of Geohazards, Societal Risks, and Monitoring at Active Plate Boundaries Using a Data-Rich Curriculum

Monday, 14 December 2015: 16:05
303 (Moscone South)
Peter A Selkin, U Washington, Tacoma, Tacoma, WA, United States, Laurel P Goodell, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, United States and Rachel Teasdale, California State University Chico, Chico, CA, United States
The "Living on the Edge: Building Resilient Societies on Active Plate Margins" curriculum consists of six data-rich activities, each intended for a 50-minute class, in which students assess risk at active plate boundaries due to earthquakes and volcanoes. Developed as part of the InTeGrate NSF STEP Center the peer-reviewed, publically available materials (http://serc.carleton.edu/104296) have been used at several institutions in diverse classroom settings including small laboratory sections, large lecture courses, medium-sized upper division courses and professional development programs for middle and high school teachers. Pre- and post-instruction surveys measured content knowledge and geoscience literacy, self-efficacy in using geologic data to assess hazards and risk, and attitudes towards the value of monitoring plate margins. The activities have overall positive effects on knowledge of geohazard concepts. Views about the value of scientific practice also became more positive: 74% of students indicated they "agree" or "strongly agree" that monitoring geologic activity has value to them personally (even if they don’t live on an active plate margin) and 94% indicated that such monitoring is valuable to society. Most became more confident in evaluating geologic hazard and risk (>60% of students self-described increased confidence by one or more Likert levels). Student knowledge of both the types and limits of data in forecasting geological hazards and their effects also improved. However, attitudes toward sustainability and geoscience careers did not change. Learning and attitudinal improvements are true for all classroom types, but the degree of change varies with class size and the amount of time spent on activities. Learning data and instructor feedback suggest that interactive classroom activities that use real-world data to address societally relevant issues increase student learning and enhance students' ability to synthesize scientific information.