Drawing as a Science Learning Activity

Overview: The EDLI team worked on DBER research in the sciences examining the impacts of drawing as a science learning activity.

Outcomes: This work resulted in a journal publication and a grant application to the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program in 2021

EDLI worked with faculty partner Dr. Julie Libarkin to help identify the role of technologies (e.g. drawing software and tablets) in promoting drawing as an instruction modality and developing curriculum around drawing as a learning process. Caitlin, Stephen, and Julie were co-authors on a publication in the Journal of Geoscience Education on drawings as assessment tools. The EDLI team also submitted a $300,000 grant to the NSF IUSE program in 2021 to further study the use of drawing in science classrooms, which was unfunded.

A drawing of the process of natural selection, which was used in the publication co-authored with faculty partner Julie Libarkin.

Publications: Kirby, C.K., J.C. Libarkin, and S.R. Thomas. 2021. Geoscientists’ drawings and conceptual understanding of natural selection. Journal of Geoscience Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/10899995.2021.1936424 

Author/Personnel: by Caitlin Kirby; Stephen Thomas, Jun Fu, Julie Libarkin

Stephen Thomas

Dr. Stephen Thomas is a faculty member and the Associate Director for the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science at Michigan State University and the Digital Curriculum Coordinator for the College of Natural Science. He provides expertise for the EDLI team in pedagogy, curricular reform, and visual thinking.