Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
TEACHING UNDERGRADUATE MINERALOGY WITH EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: FROM THE FIELD TO THE LAB TO GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA MEETINGS
Experiential learning experience at the University of West Georgia exposes students to many aspects of geology. In 2011 undergraduate students sampled and examined the mineralogy of Crabtree Mine (~380 Ma), Spruce Pine, NC and Hogg Mine, GA pegmatites. In 2011 and 2012 eight and 10 day fieldtrips to Utah and Colorado exposed geology and earth science majors to mineralogy in the field. Students engaged in the 2011 trip were a homologous group that had finished their junior year. The 2012 students ranged from students without any upper level geology to seniors. One day of the trip is used to observe the general geology of parts of Colorado and Utah (Colorado Plateau and Basin and Range). Field work consisted of working as a group to do field observations and sampling rocks and minerals. While in the field students were asked experiential learning questions that were answered by collective observations and interpretations. The two research/sample collection days in Utah were focused on the topaz and red beryl in Topaz Mountain, Thomas Range (6-7 Ma). Other less common minerals collected include hematite, bixbyite, pseudobrookite, quartz, and calcite. Part of one day of field work included collecting a section of samples in the Honeycomb Hills (4.7 Ma). In Colorado students had three days of field experience and collecting samples of pegmatite in the ~ 1 Ga Pikes Peak Batholith. Three local miners/geologists spent 1 ½ days with the students. Minerals collected were quartz, feldspars (including amazonite), biotite, muscovite, amphibole, fluorite, zircon, and goethite after siderite. The final day in Colorado was spent hiking to and observing the Green Mountain Kimberlite (572 Ma) west of Boulder, Colorado. At UWG students did hand sample descriptions, made 3-dimensional polished slabs, polished thin sections, SEM imaging and element mapping. Electron Microprobe analysis was done at another university. Successful projects result in original results that enable students to write abstracts of their research for presentation at a GSA meeting. Most students present posters at one or more GSA meetings. Preparing posters and practice before a meeting are intense experiential learning events for the students. Results from the 2011 students include 10 abstracts at GSA meetings and two abstracts for the 2012 GSA meeting.