Following Earth science workshops held in New Mexico, students were asked to complete a short evaluation of every ELI conducted in the class. The evaluations were done at the end of each ‘unit’ and students sat and discussed the activities as they wrote up the evaluations. They were asked to answer 4 questions:
(1) In a sentence or two – what did you learn from this ELI?
(2) What worked for you?
(3) What did not work?
(4) Any suggestions for changes or improvements?
The comments below are taken directly from student’s written comments.
Permeability of soils – The great soil race (Instructor presented)
- Teachers liked the ease of set up.
- We only did two samples and teachers suggested additional samples or compacting one of the soils, so that students could see a direct comparison of compacted and uncompacted.
Maps from models – Cuesta (Instructor presented)
- Doing the model allowed me to visualize what a cuesta is supposed to look like. A cuesta is steep on one side and has a gentle slope on the other.
- …clearly showed the characteristics of a cuesta. It was easy to identify them during the next activity (Geological postcards) and imagine how cross sections would work.
Geological postcards 1 - Granite and Chalk (Instructor presented)
- We went in the field to look at rocks and structures in the area around the university. Lots of cuestas here to observe.
- Teachers liked the field aspect and felt they learned more from being in the field than from pictures in a book or using hand specimens.
- We reviewed geologic maps of the areas we visited before the field trip and one suggestion was more map work before going in the field, so students understand the maps.
Rock Detective (Instructor presented)
- … having a rock that I really had to think about. It was not really like the other rocks where a simple scratch or look through a magnifying glass could show you where it went.
Rock cycle through the window
Teachers decided to actually go outside and not just look through the window.
- Going outside worked really well it got us out and really looking around explaining the vocabulary words and the examples worked really well, too.
The rock cycle in wax
- I learned the basic processes of the rock cycle and how to demonstrate it to students using common items.
Suggestion: Add questions or ask students to make predictions.
Why do igneous rocks have different crystal sizes?
- … were really amazed at how you can actually see the crystals forming on the slide.
- We were able to predict that the longer time it took the crystals to grow, the larger the crystals
Suggestion: Have students draw the crystals from the room temperature and cold slides while they wait for the warm slide to cool enough for the crystals to form.
The unfair ‘build your own crystal’ race
- Students are able to see when the model is cooled quickly the crystals are smaller and when the crystals are cooled with time the crystals tend to be a bit larger.
Suggestion: could easily modify to use mini-marshmallows or gum drops and toothpicks
Metamorphism – that’s Greek for ‘change of shape’ isn’t it?
- We used marshmallows instead of foam balls.
- I used too many marshmallows for the initial presentations
- Some rocks can be squeezed and shaped into layers or squeezed and change shape completely.
Squeezed out of shape
- …we learned that fossils can be distorted in many ways. Making the mold and then distorting it helps to realize that if the fossil is between two things that cause pressure it will more than likely be distorted.
- Fun to make and get to keep the end product. Students would really like that.
Suggestion: Make a plaster of paris cast of the undeformed fossil for comparison of the casts.
These are just some of the 44 evaluations sent to us - more later!
If you have comments and suggestions about Earth Learning Idea ctivities, then please let us know.