Northeastern Section - 40th Annual Meeting (March 14–16, 2005)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 1:20 PM


NIKITINA, Daria L.1, MCDERMOTT, David1, KEMP, Christopher1, LUCCI, Heather1 and LINDSAY, Kimberly2, (1)Earth Science, California Univ of Pennsylvania, 250 University Avenue, California, PA 15419-1394, (2)California Univ of Pennsylvania, California, PA 15419,

Inquiry-based approach was used to teach sedimentary processes and principles of stratigraphy at California University of PA during fall semester of 2004. This paper presents a sequence of field exercises, group projects, individual written assignments, samples of collaborative group projects completed by students during the Sedimentology/Stratigraphy course. Curriculum revision resulted in merging of two courses, sedimentology and stratigraphy, into one. To cover content and introduce students to integrated approach in applying basic principles of both, instructor designed a new course attending “On the Cutting Edge” workshop in the summer of 2003. During five days of intensive discussion with peers overarching goals of the course were identified, the course skeleton were developed addressing each goal through content topics and assessments. The traditional lecture/lab course format was changed to integrated field/lab work with lectures taking place in front of the local outcrop, in the middle of local fluvial system or during virtual field trip to modern sedimentary environments. Students were assigned to read selected chapters from 3rd edition of Boggs’s “Principles of Sedimentology and Stratigraphy” while compiling field and lab reports, working on data interpretation for group project and writing final paper. Activities students were engaged inside and outside of the classroom provided time for data analysis and development of critical thinking skills necessary for next step in student-learning. Measure of success of inquiry-based teaching and learning was demonstrated by high scores of students’ final essay “Stratigraphic framework of Southwestern Pennsylvania” where data collected and analyzed in class was used to interpret paleogeography of the region during Pennsylvanian time. In conclusion, students discussed origin of sedimentary sequences of Appalachian basin and explained role of tectonics and climate through the sedimentological history of the basin.