As a thematic center designed to complement existing COSEE Network efforts, COSEE-OS is moving forward in its development of effective tools and techniques to aid learners in better understanding the context of the oceans in both the earth and solar systems. Acting upon recent national efforts to “map” ocean topics into the educational standards, we are piloting effective ways to bring the relevance of the oceans to classrooms, particularly rural and inland audiences.
COSEE-OS is implementing tools and methodologies to promote effective learning, such as concept mapping, with an ocean science context. Concept maps are well suited for understanding parts of a complex discipline, such as oceanography. The value of concept mapping lies in both the process of construction and in the final product, the map - a visualization of the journey to understanding. Information organized as a concept map, reveals how a student sees the links between concepts or ideas, identifies gaps in knowledge, and exposes misconceptions. Through this process, a teacher can observe and evaluate students in two ways: understanding between topic concepts, and the students’ perception of the whole topic.
Ocean science can be used to demonstrate many fundamental principles of science, including those outlined in our national education standards. By building model concept maps around ocean sciences, COSEE-OS anticipates assisting both teachers and students in constructing science knowledge rather than just consuming interesting facts and vocabulary. These model maps are not intended to be “answer keys,” but will serve as a point of reference. Constructed by consensus among ocean scientists and K-12 educators, the maps suggest science content with appropriate and accurate connections between concepts.