Part I: Development of a Concept Inventory Addressing Students' Beliefs and Reasoning Difficulties Regarding the Greenhouse Effect; Part II: Distribution of Chlorine Measured by the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer
AuthorKeller, John M.
science education research
gamma ray spectroscopy
Committee ChairBoynton, William V.
Prather, Edward E.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis work presents two research efforts, one involving planetary science education research and a second involving the surface composition of Mars. In the former, student beliefs and reasoning difficulties associated with the greenhouse effect were elicited through student interviews and written survey responses from >900 US undergraduate non-science majors. This guided the development of the Greenhouse Effect Concept Inventory (GECI), an educational research tool designed to assess pre- and post-instruction conceptual understanding of the greenhouse effect. Three versions of this multiple-choice instrument were administered to >2,500 undergraduates as part of the development and validation process. In contrast to previous research efforts regarding causes, consequences, and solutions to the enhanced greenhouse effect, the GECI focuses primarily on the physics of energy flow through Earth's atmosphere. The GECI is offered to the science education community as a research tool for assessing instructional strategies on this topic.It was confirmed that the study population subscribes to several previously identified beliefs. These include correct understandings that carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas and the greenhouse effect increases planetary surface temperatures. Students also commonly associate the greenhouse effect with increased penetration of sunlight into and trapping of solar energy in the atmosphere. Students intermix concepts associated with the greenhouse effect, global warming, and ozone depletion. Reinforcing the latter concept, a majority believe that the Sun radiates most of its energy as ultraviolet light. Students also describe inaccurate and incomplete trapping models, which include permanent trapping, trapping through reflection, and trapping of gases and pollution. Another reasoning difficulty involves the idea that Earth's surface radiates energy primarily during the nighttime.The second research effort describes the distribution of chlorine on Mars measured by the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS). The distribution of chlorine is heterogeneous across the surface, with a concentration of high chlorine centered over the Medusa Fossae Formation. The distribution of chlorine correlates positively with hydrogen and negatively with silicon and thermal inertia. Four mechanisms (aeolian, volcanic, aqueous, and hydrothermal) are discussed as possible factors influencing the distribution of chlorine measured within the upper few tens of centimeters of the surface.
Degree ProgramPlanetary Sciences