State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Web Diagramming Rocks: Paper Named Among 10 Best

An example of a student diagram on metamorphic rocks.

Lamont-Doherty adjunct research scientist O. Roger Anderson and a colleague at Columbia University’s Teachers College were named authors of one of the top 10 science education papers in 2010, for their study of how visual “webs” of information help students of earth science grasp important concepts.

The honor for Anderson and student co-author Julie Contino came from the Association for Science Teacher Education and the National Science Teachers Association. The paper will be highlighted in publications of the latter group in the coming year.

The researchers tested the concept of web diagramming – a way of organizing material to highlight the connections between facts and concepts. Students in a New York City secondary school applied the concepts to basic lessons in geology. The researchers found the diagramming helped students form “knowledge networks” that led them to a better understanding of the material. The diagrams also helped the students apply higher order thinking skills as they learned.

“A Study of Teacher-Mediated Enhancement of Students’ Organization of Earth Science Knowledge Using Web Diagrams as a Teaching Device” appeared in October 2010 in the Journal of Science Teacher Education (21, 6: 683-701).

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