Geological and Atmospheric Sciences
Journal or Book Title
Journal of Geoscience Education
In this paper we describe student use of a series of connected online problem-solving activities to remediate atmospheric carbon budget misconceptions held by undergraduate university students. In particular, activities were designed to address a common misconception about conservation of mass when students assume a simplistic, direct relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and carbon emissions. This particular misconception was challenged through an instructional intervention applying constructivist learning theory principles in an effort to prompt cognitive dissonance and induce conceptual change. This study is based on 1 y of data collected from a survey completed by introductory physical geology students (n = 176), divided into a control group (n = 127) and an experimental group (n = 49). The students in the experimental group worked on an instructional intervention targeting identified misconceptions during a laboratory session. Both the control group and the experimental group were presented information targeting the same misconception through a traditional lecture. Students completing the instructional intervention demonstrated significant increases in learning and reductions of misconceptions relative to students in the control group. However, some aspects of the misconceptions seemed to persist.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers
Reichert, Collin Peter; Cervato, Cinzia; Niederhauser, Dale; and Larsen, Michael D., "Understanding Atmospheric Carbon Budgets: Teaching Students Conservation of Mass" (2015). Geological and Atmospheric Sciences Publications. 119.