Lecture Tutorials

Lecture Tutorials are short, interactive worksheets used during lecture. They are designed to combat the problem of students leaving typical lecture-based introductory geoscience courses with their misconceptions still intact. After a brief lecture on a topic, Lecture Tutorials are completed by students in small groups, adding an interactive component to the class and challenging students to think about their misconceptions. They have been successfully developed and used in physics and astronomy, and Jessica J. Smay (San Jose City College) and I have developed them for the geosciences and for planetary/solar system astronomy.

Below is a subset of Lecture Tutorials which we have developed and tested. Jessica Smay and I have published a full workbook of Lecture Tutorials with WH Freeman (Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Geoscience, 2010; ISBN: 1429253789), so instructors can more easily implement them in their classes. If you use Lecture Tutorials in your class, we would love to hear from you , because we want comments and feedback so we can improve Lecture Tutorials in the future.

Jessica Smay and I have also published a module on Lecture Tutorials on the SERC webpage, On the Cutting Edge - Teaching Methods. This module gives more in-depth information about Lecture Tutorials, tips for implementing them in the classroom, and additional examples.


Sample Lecture Tutorials (1014 KB) This sample includes the following Lecture Tutorials and preface from Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Geoscience:

1. Plate Boundaries in Oceans
2. Magma Source Depth 
3. Igneous Rock Mineral Size 
4. Groundwater Contamination

Descriptions of the Lecture Tutorials in the Subset:

1. Plate Boundaries in Oceans -- Students will learn about divergent and convergent plate boundaries and the motions and features associated with them.  This Lecture Tutorials addresses the common misconception students have that plates are coming together at divergent plate boundaries, and it emphasizes the relationship between plate boundaries and seafloor features.

2. Magma Source Depth -- Students think about the formation of magma within the Earth, and they compare that depth to the layers within the Earth. Specifically this Lecture Tutorial clarifies the difference between the molten outer core and the source of magma for volcanoes.

3. Igneous Rock Mineral Size -- This Lecture Tutorial teaches students the cause of different mineral sizes in igneous rocks and how to determine the history of these igneous rocks. Students realize that magma that cools slowly results in fewer minerals that are larger in size, instead of smaller, more numerous minerals.

4. Groundwater Contamination -- Students use groundwater elevation contour maps to determine the direction of motion of groundwater and contaminants.


Planetary/Solar System Astronomy

Booklet of all 15 Lecture Tutorials (2.52 MB) This booklet includes the following Lecture Tutorials: 
(additional Lecture Tutorials relating to planets can be found in the workbook Lecture Tutorials for Introductory Geoscience).

1. Earth’s Tectonic Plate Boundaries
2. Earth’s Surface Features
3. Auroras
4. The Moon’s Crater History
5. The Moon’s Surface: Order of Events
6. Planetary Positions
7. Terrestrial Planets Vs Jovian Planets
8. Planet Surface Features
9. Mars Climate Change
10. Other Moons Surface Processes
11. Jovian Planets
12. Space Objects
13. Asteroid Impacts
14. Pluto
15. Missions

Last Updated: 7/22/19