Event Title

Getting Students to Read and Think: Using Popular Literature in an Introductory Natural Resources Course

Location

Natural Resources Meeting Room

Event Website

http://uenr.warnercnr.colostate.edu/

Start Date

3-23-2012 10:00 AM

End Date

3-23-2012 10:30 AM

Description

Lower level natural resource management courses are used to introduce majors to the discipline, recruit new majors, and/or to fulfill university general education requirements. Consequently, interests and backgrounds of students enrolled in the course can vary greatly, and finding an appropriate textbook can be challenging. There are many good introductory textbooks available but most are heavy on facts and are considered very boring by most students. In addition, many of these textbooks present natural resource management issues as “black and white” and thus do not encourage critical thinking. After dealing with these same issues every year for several years and finding myself bored reading the textbook, I challenged myself to find a better better way and have incorporated popular literature into my course to see if I could get the students better engaged in reading and critical thinking. The outcomes have been overwhelmingly positive and I continue to incorporate a variety of novels into my introductory natural resource management courses. Results indicate students are excited they “got to read a novel in a science class!” and they typically finished their reading assignments ahead of due dates. Class discussions and assignments based on the novels are supported by information from the textbook which motivated students to read their textbook and helped put natural resources management topics into context. In addition, comparing information in the novels to the textbook encouraged students to think critically and illustrated the complexity of natural resource management. I will describe the overall concept of using novels by using results of incorporating Barbara Kingsolver’s novel “Prodigal Summer” in a lecture-based introductory natural resources management course. I will describe how I modified my syllabus and how I used assignments from the novel to motivate students to read their textbook and think critically about natural resource management issues.

Comments

Citation: DeWald, LE. 2012. Getting Students to Read and Think: Using Popular Literature in an Introductory Natural Resources Course. UENR 9th Biennial Conference. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Sessions/9/

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Mar 23rd, 10:00 AM Mar 23rd, 10:30 AM

Getting Students to Read and Think: Using Popular Literature in an Introductory Natural Resources Course

Natural Resources Meeting Room

Lower level natural resource management courses are used to introduce majors to the discipline, recruit new majors, and/or to fulfill university general education requirements. Consequently, interests and backgrounds of students enrolled in the course can vary greatly, and finding an appropriate textbook can be challenging. There are many good introductory textbooks available but most are heavy on facts and are considered very boring by most students. In addition, many of these textbooks present natural resource management issues as “black and white” and thus do not encourage critical thinking. After dealing with these same issues every year for several years and finding myself bored reading the textbook, I challenged myself to find a better better way and have incorporated popular literature into my course to see if I could get the students better engaged in reading and critical thinking. The outcomes have been overwhelmingly positive and I continue to incorporate a variety of novels into my introductory natural resource management courses. Results indicate students are excited they “got to read a novel in a science class!” and they typically finished their reading assignments ahead of due dates. Class discussions and assignments based on the novels are supported by information from the textbook which motivated students to read their textbook and helped put natural resources management topics into context. In addition, comparing information in the novels to the textbook encouraged students to think critically and illustrated the complexity of natural resource management. I will describe the overall concept of using novels by using results of incorporating Barbara Kingsolver’s novel “Prodigal Summer” in a lecture-based introductory natural resources management course. I will describe how I modified my syllabus and how I used assignments from the novel to motivate students to read their textbook and think critically about natural resource management issues.

https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cuenr/9thBiennial/Sessions/9