Collaboration to improve Native American tribes’ access to climate science tools

The Geocognition Research Lab is pleased to be part of a new NSF-funded project to foster better relations between tribes and scientific organizations when dealing with climate change. The project, led by Kyle Powys Whyte – an MSU philosophy professor – is a collaboration between Michigan State University and the College of Menominee Nation. More details here!

Announcing a new paper in International Journal of Science Education

A new paper that blends science and art (STEM to STEAM) and evaluates a new technique for analyzing drawings has been published in International Journal of Science Education by GRL Director Libarkin and colleagues:

Factor Analysis of Drawings: Application to College Student Models of the Greenhouse Effect, co-authored by Libarkin, Thomas, and Ording

Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify models underlying drawings of the greenhouse effect made by over 200 entering university freshmen. Initial content analysis allowed deconstruction of drawings into salient features, with grouping of these features via factor analysis. A resulting 4-factor solution explains 62% of the data variance, suggesting that 4 archetype models of the greenhouse effect dominate thinking within this population. Factor scores, indicating the extent to which each student’s drawing aligned with representative models, were compared to performance on conceptual understanding and attitudes measures, demographics, and non-cognitive features of drawings. Student drawings were also compared to drawings made by scientists to ascertain the extent to which models reflect more sophisticated and accurate models. Results indicate that student and scientist drawings share some similarities, most notably the presence of some features of the most sophisticated non-scientific model held among the study population. Prior knowledge, prior attitudes, gender, and non-cognitive components are also predictive of an individual student’s model. This work presents a new technique for analyzing drawings, with general implications for the use of drawings in investigating student conceptions.

Paty Jaimes Receives On To the Future Award from the Geological Society of America!

New graduate student Paty Jaimes has received an On To the Future award to travel to the 2015 Geological Society of America annual meeting. Congratulations, Paty, and well done!

From the Geological Society of America On To the Future page: “The On To the Future Program (OTF) is a grassroots initiative of the Geological Society of America (GSA) that addresses the organization’s overall strategic commitment to building a diverse geoscience community by engaging groups traditionally underrepresented in the geosciences. The OTF Program awards partial travel scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students, and recent graduates studying in the geosciences, to attend their first GSA Annual Meeting.

I hope other students consider applying to help diversify the geosciences!