This project will synthesize existing knowledge and articulate unanswered questions in critical areas of research on cognition and learning relevant to the Geosciences. Geosciences encompass the study of the oceans, atmosphere, and solid earth, plus interactions between these physical systems and living systems. Within the domain of geoscience learning, our study will focus on four themes: 1) geological time; 2) complex systems of the Earth; 3) spatial thinking in Geosciences and 4) field-based learning.
Each of these areas plays a central role in how human beings think about the Earth and learn to think about the Earth, and each poses substantial cognitive challenges. In addition, we seek to understand how geoscientists integrate these different types of learning in drawing inferences about the Earth.