Friday, March 9th, 2018 at University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus


Transforming STEM Education Through Science Education and Geocognition Research

The Geoscience Education Research and Geocognition Research focuses on questions related to how people perceive, understand, and make decisions about our planet.

Limited spaces available!

Enter to your PR-LSAMP profile to register:

For more information contact:

Javier Figueroa
PR-LSAMP Academic Coordinator,
Tel: 787-765-5170 x2012

Zulma I. Crespo, MS
PR-LSAMP  Management Coordinator
Tel: 787-765-5170 x2016

Angellie González
PR-LSAMP Administrative Assistant Tel: 787-765-5170 x2013




Julie Carol Libarkin, Ph.D.
Director - Geocognition Research Lab
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Michigan State University

Using drawings for instruction and assessment

The value of drawing for learning, reasoning, and communicating lies in the efficiency of visual representations. In science, visual representations provide instructors with powerful means for communicating complex processes. However, students who may have limited prior knowledge or visual literacy may be overloaded by representations easily understood by experts. While scientific representations used in classrooms should be designed to maximize understanding among novices, novices can also be trained through the practice of drawing itself. Drawing by students can serve multiple purposes. For example, drawings can engage learners, offer hands-on experience with the visual shorthand used by scientists, and generate unique insight into internal mental models held by students. Prior scholars have investigated the impact of drawing on student affect, including engagement and attitudes toward science, and have used drawings to elicit alternative conceptions. While use of drawings in instruction is growing more common, drawing analysis is mostly limited to qualitative coding. This presentation will cover what is known about the value of drawing in classrooms, and provide a quantitative approach to analyzing drawings that can be used to identify the most common internal mental models held by students. Understanding alternative models held by students provides guidance for design of instruction that is responsive to student needs. In addition, quantitative analysis of drawings allows for assessment of change in student models over time. Studies of student drawings of the greenhouse effect, insects, and the local environment will be used to illustrate the efficacy of this approach for drawing analysis.





Ángel A. García Jr.
Ph.D. Candidate in Geological Sciences
School of Earth and Space Exploration
Arizona State University

The use of ethnogeology research to inform sustainable and culturally relevant approaches in local STEM curriculum

Ethnogeology is the scientific study of human relationships with the Earth system, typically in the context of a specific culture. Many traditional indigenous and local systems of environmental knowledge include empirical descriptions and interpretations of geological processes. These may differ from purely mainstream geoscientific explanations but are validated by their relevance to long-term cultural resilience and sustainability, often in challenging environments. Ethnogeologic findings can enrich geoscientific knowledge bases and inform place-based education that has been shown to engage and enrich students from diverse underrepresented minority backgrounds. Place-based geoscience education, informed by ethnogeology, holds promise as an effective bridge between underrepresented students and degrees and careers in geoscience. Ethnogeological research integrates methods from field ethnography such as free listing, participatory mapping, and cultural consensus analysis among other methods from participatory rapid assessment that are used for the collection and analysis of geological knowledge related to karst features and processes among the Puerto Rican and Dominican culture. Results of ethnogeologic studies in the Caribbean suggest a good fit for the cultural consensus model about geological processes among consultants in Dominican Republic (4.604) and Puerto Rico (4.669) as well as competence average with values of 0.552 and 0.628 respectively.





Steven C. Semken, Ph.D.
Professor of Geology and Education
School of Earth and Space Exploration
Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University

Ethnogeology, Sense of place, and Place-based geoscience education

When we name, explore, inhabit, or in any way experience a locality, we make it a place. Humans are naturally connected to places, forming intellectual and emotional ties to meaningful places that are collectively referred to as sense of place. Places are nexuses of locally situated knowledge that is accrued by all of the people and cultural groups that inhabit them, beginning with indigenous people. We conduct research on and teach about Earth in and by means of places. The new science of ethnogeology, the scientific study of culturally situated knowledge of the Earth, is directed toward expanding the scope and diversity of the geosciences, and to make geoscience education more place-based: more locally relevant and more culturally inclusive. Ethnogeology draws on methods from field geology and field ethnography. This presentation will survey mixed-methods ethnogeology research carried out by our research group in the Southwest USA, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and how it directly informs evidence-based design, implementation, and assessment for place-based curricula and instructional methods in geoscience, environmental science, and sustainability.



Kristen E.K. St. John, Ph.D.

Professor of Paleoceanography and Geoscience education
Department of Geology and Environmental Science
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, Virginia

Strategies for scientists to bring research into the undergraduate classroom: A multi-tiered model from the Paleoclimate Education community

In order to develop a strong STEM workforce and a scientifically literate society it is important to teach not only what we know about the natural world, but also how we know it. This is particularly true for scientific research on societally-relevant topics such as climate change, geologic hazards, and resource management. The purpose of this presentation is to share examples of how the paleoclimate education community has worked to make research on the geologic perspective on climate change accessible and meaningful to educators and students. This will be considered both at programmatic and individual levels to illustrate a range of successful strategies for translating research results and practices into undergraduate educational curriculum and pedagogy. Efforts from the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) community include the School of Rock and MSI-REaCH faculty professional development programs, the Educator-at-Sea program, and the STEMSEAS program for undergraduates. Upcoming opportunities for faculty and students will be discussed. In addition, strategies for faculty on curriculum design that integrates scientific research data and analysis in general education courses and on course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) in upper levels courses will be shared.




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