TEACHING EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE TO ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES MAJORS
The purpose of this research is to examine the use of laboratory assignments and projects in ES 223. Twenty-four students completed a post-class survey addressing questions about the laboratory sessions during Fall, 2004. They were asked to evaluate each lab in terms of knowledge gained, enjoyment, and relevance to the major and their future career. Students commonly rated the laboratory projects that included fieldtrips and fieldwork the highest in all categories, even though they had extensive lab reports to write about the fieldwork. In-class labs were commonly rated lower in terms of enjoyment and variable in terms of knowledge gained, even though these labs were completed within the three hour allotted time. Laboratory assignments about Groundwater Properties, Streams, and Energy were ranked as the most relevant to the major. Results regarding future careers are variable, perhaps indicating that students are uncertain of their career goals. The results of this analysis reinforce the importance of modifying traditional geological laboratory assignments when teaching in an interdisciplinary department.