Proposal Title

When the question is the answer: proposed developmental model for questioning in the undergraduate years

Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

7-7-2011 2:30 PM

Keywords

curiosity; questions; developmental; earth and environmental sciences; undergraduate

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Undergraduate students’ ability and interest in questioning is key to developing their scientific curiosity and understanding in the earth and environmental sciences. Particularly in the early undergraduate years, it is important that students develop the ability to question so they can determine what it is they are looking at in the field, or what their analyses mean. Additionally, what they read, and what the lab materials are telling them, depend on them asking good questions. At first glance, these activities may look as though they are leading to answers, but unless students learn to ask the “right” questions, then their answers may not be relevant or useful. In this way, the questions become both the precursor to successful learning and the result of this learning, as students generate before-, during-, and after- learning questions. This presentation discusses a preliminary developmental model for students’ questioning skills, and how we can encourage and foster questions from students, especially within the fields of earth and environmental sciences, where the questions are multidimensional and on a variety of scales in space and time. With effective guidance, students develop their questioning skills so they can move to a greater depth of understanding and curiosity through the undergraduate years. Providing students with scaffolding and building confidence in increasing complexity in the nature of their questions is critical as students move from novice to expert in the discipline.

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Jul 7th, 2:30 PM

When the question is the answer: proposed developmental model for questioning in the undergraduate years

Undergraduate students’ ability and interest in questioning is key to developing their scientific curiosity and understanding in the earth and environmental sciences. Particularly in the early undergraduate years, it is important that students develop the ability to question so they can determine what it is they are looking at in the field, or what their analyses mean. Additionally, what they read, and what the lab materials are telling them, depend on them asking good questions. At first glance, these activities may look as though they are leading to answers, but unless students learn to ask the “right” questions, then their answers may not be relevant or useful. In this way, the questions become both the precursor to successful learning and the result of this learning, as students generate before-, during-, and after- learning questions. This presentation discusses a preliminary developmental model for students’ questioning skills, and how we can encourage and foster questions from students, especially within the fields of earth and environmental sciences, where the questions are multidimensional and on a variety of scales in space and time. With effective guidance, students develop their questioning skills so they can move to a greater depth of understanding and curiosity through the undergraduate years. Providing students with scaffolding and building confidence in increasing complexity in the nature of their questions is critical as students move from novice to expert in the discipline.