Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 1:00 PM-4:45 PM
CASE STUDIES THAT ILLUSTRATE HOW UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH PROVIDES AN EFFECTIVE METHOD OF TEACHING
Geophysical methods of prospecting are useful and effective in solving geologic, hydrologic and engineering problems. They are also an excellent way of developing an appreciation of science and engaging students in projects to which students respond enthusiastically. Case studies of undergraduate research are presented that demonstrate how science teaching in a field geophysics course engages students in hands on activities that provide a significant community service, as well as, an excellent method of teaching. These field projects expose the students to a variety of real problem solving activities in the fields of hydrogeology, environmental geology, engineering and seismology. The methods used in the field to solve the problems are seismic reflection and refraction, electrical resistivity, gravity and magnetics. In this approach, the students become actively involved in the acquisition, computer analysis, modeling and interpretation of geophysical data.
A few case studies that will be presented are the location of buried canals beneath Potsdam, NY; the depth and contamination of groundwater for a local resident, the thickness of frozen ground during the winter season and the location of a fault in the epicentral region of an earthquake. The response of the students to work on these problems was one of enthusiasm and excitement. This active participation of students in research makes classroom teaching more relevant and meaningful to students.