Do Geology Field Courses Improve Penetrative Thinking?

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Kimberly A. Hannula


Spatial thinking skills are important for geoscientists, and field courses play an important role in using and developing those skills. This study examines the development of spatial perception and geoscience-specific penetrative thinking skills, as measured by paired pre- and post-tests using the water-level test and the Geologic Block Cross-sectioning Test, in a sophomore field mapping course. Students began the course with strong spatial perception skills, but developed their penetrative thinking skills significantly (p<0.0001) between the beginning and end of the course. Furthermore, the gender gap in penetrative thinking skills that existed at the beginning of the course became statistically insignificant by the end of the course. This work can be used as a baseline for comparison with results of non-field-based exercises that are designed to develop geologic penetrative thinking skills in other ways.



Earth Sciences, Education, Geology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics


field geology, gender differences, penetrative thinking, spatial perception, spatial thinking


Published: 2018-06-05 12:45


GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) 2.1

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