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Find Your Science at GSA
26 Apr. 2012
GSA Release No. 12-35
Kea Giles
Managing Editor,
GSA Communications
Special Paper 486

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New GSA Special Paper

Do Geologists See the World Differently?

Earth and Mind II: A Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences

Boulder, CO, USA – Geologists sometimes feel that their students and non-geoscientist colleagues see and interpret the world differently than they do — thus this new book from The Geological Society of America. Earth and Mind II explores the distinctive ways geoscientists perceive, analyze, and explain the workings of the earth system and then builds on those insights to suggest ways to help students master these unique thought processes so as to better understand and work within the geosciences.

Written by collaborative teams of geoscientists and cognitive scientists, the discussion includes spatial thinking, temporal thinking, systems thinking, field-based teaching and learning, the nature of expertise in geosciences, and knowledge integration in geoscience education.

Editors Kim A. Kastens of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Dept. of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and Cathryn A. Manduca of the Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College have arranged the book in a very user-friendly fashion. Four main sections, Time, Space, Systems, and Field, include three sub-sections: an introduction by the editors, a thematic paper by experts in the each particular area, and several commentaries on the theme.

Sample commentaries include “Did time exist in the Cretaceous?”; “Gender and geoscience specialization as a function of object and spatial visualization skills”: “Addressing complexity in weather: The human role in forecasting”; and “Afloat in the field.”

In putting together this volume, Kastens and Manduca had several goals in mind, “from the solidly practical to the deeply intellectual.”

Foremost in consideration from a practical standpoint is the need to reach the next generation with new methods and clearer information. They write, “Many of the most difficult problems facing society in the twenty-first century concern interactions between humanity and the planet, including global warming, freshwater supply, energy supply, and natural hazards such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Our ability as a society to deal effectively with these problems depends on raising a next generation of citizens, scientist, and decision makers who can think more insightfully about Earth and environment than did their parents and grandparents.”

Earth and Mind II: A Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences is available now in the GSA store:

Book editors of earth science journals/publications may request a review copy by contacting April Leo, .

Earth and Mind II: A Synthesis of Research on Thinking and Learning in the Geosciences
Edited by Kim A. Kastens and Cathryn A. Manduca
Geological Society of America Special Paper 486
SPE486, 210 p., $75.00; Member price $60.00
ISBN 978-0-8137-2486-7