TC's Ann Rivet Receives National Science Foundation Grant
“The challenge,” says TC’s Ann Rivet, Assistant Professor of Science Education, “is that you can’t fit the earth into a classroom.” To address this issue, earth science teachers have relied on table-top models and experiments to simulate such processes. Recently, Rivet, along with Kim Anne Kastens, Senior Research Scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, received a $982,080 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate just how successful table-top models are at illustrating processes that can sometimes take millions of years to complete.
Their hypothesis is that students can’t always translate what they learn with a classroom model into knowledge about Earth systems. The pair have begun studying how models are used in 8th- and 9th-grade Earth Studies classrooms in Rockland and Westchester counties. They will map the “analogical linkages” between the models and the full-scale systems, to see how well students understand the relationships. “Then,” Kastens says, “we have a couple of ideas about how to improve the use of the models so as to make the linkage between the models and the Earth systems stronger.”
The three-year project, “Collaborative Research: Bridging between Tabletop Models and the Earth System,” will result in peer-reviewed papers and possibly professional teaching models, Rivet says.
Published Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009