2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM


SROGI, LeeAnn, Department of Geology/Astronomy, West Chester Univ, 720 S Church St, West Chester, PA 19383-0001 and LUTZ, Timothy M., West Chester Univ, 750 S Church St, West Chester, PA 19383-0001, esrogi@wcupa.edu

Field experiences that engage undergraduates in problem-solving have positive outcomes at both introductory and upper levels. At the introductory level, University and Department learning goals include students being able to: employ quantitative concepts and methods, think critically and analytically, comprehend and apply basic principles of earth science, understand the interactions among science, technology, and society, better understand the dynamic behavior of material and energy, and develop a lifelong interest in earth science. The (mostly) non-major students enrolled in a typical introductory geology course investigate the campus and regional geologic environment through multi-week lab modules. Field trips are conducted around campus each lab, and build from an early show-and-tell trip to pique student interest, to activities in which students make measurements, collect and analyze data, and make and test hypotheses. Students compile weekly handouts and a summary essay into a lab portfolio. Examples of student behaviors and portfolios for the Water module will be presented.

Students in an upper-level petrology course are department majors; roughly half are in the B.S.Ed. program to become secondary teachers. The course learning goals are that students will be able to carry out an investigation of igneous and metamorphic rocks using modern methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis, and propose a logical and reasonable explanation for their data based on a sound understanding of scientific principles and petrologic theories. Field trips in which students make and test hypotheses, map and collect samples for further research support the learning goals and may be more meaningful to students with little intrinsic interest in petrology. We have sufficient exposures of rocks within easy driving distance, meaningful unanswered questions at the appropriate level for students, and analytical instruments including XRD and an SEM with EDS at West Chester. In fall 2004, field observations will guide the development of a proposal for research that students then conduct in class; and they will be the ground truth that students must explain along with petrographic and geochemical data in their final research report. Examples from fall 2004 student portfolios and reflections will be presented.