Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Using rock art as an alternative science pedagogy
by Allen, Casey D., Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2008, 201; 3302400
Abstract (Summary)

College-level and seventh-grade science students were studied to understand the power of a field index, the Rock Art Stability Index (RASI), for student learning about complex biophysical environmental processes. In order to determine if the studied population was representative, 584 college and seventh-grade students undertook a concept mapping exercise after they had learned basic weathering science via in-class lecture. Of this large group, a subset of 322 college students and 13 seventh-grade students also learned RASI through a field experience involving the analysis of rock weathering associated with petroglyphs. After learning weathering through RASI, students completed another concept map. This was a college population where roughly 46% had never taken a "lab science" course and nearly 22% were from minority (non-white) populations.

Analysis of student learning through the lens of actor-network theory revealed that when landscape is viewed as process (i.e. many practices), science education embodies both an alternative science philosophy and an alternative materialistic worldview. When RASI components were analyzed after only lecture, student understanding of weathering displayed little connection between weathering form and weathering process. After using RASI in the field however, nearly all students made illustrative concept maps rich in connections between weathering form and weathering process for all subcomponents of RASI.

When taken as an aggregate, and measured by an average concept map score, learning increased by almost 14%, Among college minority students, the average score increase approached 23%. Among female students, the average score increase was 16%. For seventh-grade students, scores increased by nearly 36%. After testing for normalcy with Kolmogorov-Smirnov, t-tests reveal that all of these increases were highly statistically significant at p<0.001. The growth in learning weathering science by minority students, as compared to non-minority students, was also statistically significant at p<0.01. These findings reveal the power of field work through RASI to strengthen cognitive linkages between complex biophysical processes and the corresponding rock weathering forms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor:
Commitee:
School: Arizona State University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Geography, Geography, Science education
Keywords: Alternative pedagogy, Concept mapping, Critical pedagogy, Physical geography, Rock art, Science education, Weathering science
Publication Number: 3302400
ISBN: 9780549482796
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