Scissors. Purple glue sticks. Paper patterns to slash out and fold.
Chris Lowry teaches state-of-the-art geology university programs at the University at Buffalo. But some of the tools he delivers to class evoke the pleasure of quality college.
Lowry is creator of the Foldable Aquifer Project—a collection of three-D paper types of aquifers, which (in serious daily life) consist of layers of permeable rock, sand and gravel that keep water underground.
Each and every paper aquifer can help students fully grasp a certain issue tied to subterranean water storage, these kinds of as how pumping water out of a effectively has an effect on neighboring wetlands.
Lowry has made about twenty of the types so significantly, all out there to obtain for free on the project website.
“Geology is a three-D science, but everything we give to students is on a 2-D piece of paper,” claims Lowry, an associate professor in the Department of Geology and Department of Natural environment and Sustainability in the UB College of Arts and Sciences. “With the foldable aquifers, students you should not have to consider what a 2-D drawing appears to be like like in three-D.”
“I made use of the aquifers in class this calendar year, and students look to be rather pumped on it,” Lowry claims (no pun meant). “Not everybody took the time to fold the types, and there are some students who you should not have to have that they can do it in their intellect. But there are other students who experienced challenges on a homework assignment, and when I gave them the folded design, instantly they experienced this lightbulb type of instant. They were being like, “Oh. I see what you happen to be speaking about now.'”
Thinking outdoors the box
Lowry started developing the types even though on sabbatical in 2019. He set aside an hour a working day to get the job done on them and produce corresponding homework assignments.
But the project’s inspiration—like the scissors and glue sticks—draws from childhood.
Lowry remembers going to a cafe named the Aged Spaghetti Manufacturing facility when he was a boy. Children acquired paper trolleys to fold through the food, he claims, and he was reminded of that tactile practical experience one particular working day through office environment hrs.
“I experienced this issue I gave in class where by the handout showed what the aquifer would seem like from the facet, the top and the other facet,” he recollects. “I folded the paper in office environment hrs. And when I folded that paper in half, I was like, these were being totally like individuals trolleys I designed when I was a kid.”
Jeremy Inventory, a UB geology master’s scholar and professional artist and caricaturist, claims he enjoys the foldable aquifer thought. He and Lowry talked over the types when Lowry was producing them. Afterwards, Inventory took a class in which Lowry gave students assignments involving the aquifers.
“It can be this type of old-college mini project—a minimal art you can do even though you happen to be doing your hydrogeology homework,” claims Inventory, who teaches art to substantial college students in Buffalo. “You can keep it in your hand and change it around, which is valuable for the reason that one particular of the troubles in educating is to get individuals to believe in 3 dimensions.”
The foldable aquifers look “totally like a Chris thing,” Inventory adds. “He likes to believe outdoors the box.”
Research assignment—and memento?
Lowry acquired a excellent response from colleagues when he shared the project on Twitter and at a current meeting. His website does not but observe downloads, so he isn’t certain how lots of individuals are applying his patterns. But he hopes that other educators will explore and make use of the paper aquifers.
“College members have to have tools in their classroom, but they you should not have time to thoroughly produce all of these tools,” he claims. “These foldable aquifers are intended to be a plug and play type of thing. If you happen to be doing a lecture on Darcy’s legislation, which has to do with water movement, you could just go to the Darcy’s legislation issue and give the aquifer and homework assignment to your students.”
It can be a creative way, Lowry claims, to make courses exciting and have interaction students in wondering about water.
“Possibly you absolutely hated my class and you happen to be going to burn your aquifer at the close of the semester, but I believe these items could possibly sit on students’ desk for a even though,” Lowry claims. “They could possibly seem at their aquifer later on. Now, I have touched them one particular extra time and designed them believe about hydrogeology.”
Toward a smarter way of recharging the aquifer
To help students believe in three-D, a geologist turns to paper design creating (2020, February twenty)
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