Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 9:45 AM
ALBION COLLEGE'S ORE EXPLORATION GAME: AN INTEGRATIVE EXERCISE
Geology 101 Introductory Geology at Albion College meets the Science Mode requirement through which students learn the process of science and the impact of geology on their own lives. To help students achieve these goals, we devised two multiple-week projects to serve as the culmination of each half of the semester, replacing traditional lab exams. One of these is a research project, described in Lincoln et al. 2007. The other is the ore exploration game, which requires students to integrate material covered in 6 weeks of lectures and labs on minerals, rocks, structures and topographic and geologic maps, and to apply what they have learned to a practical problem. Students divide into teams or “mineral exploration companies” of 3 to 4 members. They are given rules for the game, an exploration budget, a geologic map, a set of rock samples keyed to the map, and worksheets to fill out as they collect information. Their assignment is to use this information to locate ore bodies both exposed and hidden and to acquire the rights to these through an auction on the last day of the project. In week 1, they identify and describe samples, label structures on the map, draw cross sections, and develop a geologic history. In week 2, the groups buy geochemical and drill hole data and use these along with the geology to locate and describe ore bodies. By the end of this lab, each group will have described at least one kind of ore. Deposits are hidden with varying degrees of subtlety, allowing all students to find some ore and the best to demonstrate their abilities. In week 3, students hand in completed maps and cross sections (done as teams), and a geologic history of the area that includes descriptions of samples and structures as well as interpretations of their environments of formation, along with a two-page paper on the ore deposits (papers and histories written as individuals). Groups use the funds left in their exploration budget to bid on squares of the map they believe contain ore. To be successful, students must approach the problem as geologists, going beyond simple rock and structure identification to interpretation of rock assemblages in the context of a geologic map and synthesis of these interpretations into a coherent narrative history. This project will be used to assess the integrative thinking component of our assessment plan.