Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


VAN WINKLE, R. Scott, Department of Geology & Geophysics, High Alpine and Arctic Research Program (HAARP), Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, ARCHER, Julie S. Dyess, Westbrook Intermediate, 302 El Dorado Blvd, Freindswood, TX 77546, POPE, Michael C., Department of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843 and GIARDINO, John R., Department of Geology & Geophysics, Water Management & Hydrological Science Program, and High Alpine & Arctic Research Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3115,

Geology is a dynamic field of study. Unfortunately, constrained by resources and tradition, the first course is usually taught in a classroom via lecture mode. This approach is the modus operandi for attracting incoming freshman into the discipline. The Department of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M University, by partnering with various petroleum companies, has developed a new approach for attracting students to the geosciences, G-Camp for Students. Because the field is the place for teaching and learning, it served as the backdrop for our inquiry-based hands-on approach to teaching first year geology. Field-focused exercises were developed using inquiry-based teaching to help G-Camp students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills with a geosciences perspective.

High-ranking incoming freshman are invited to participate in a 15-day principles of geology course taught in the field. This field course is offered during the summer prior to the beginning of their freshman year. The course begins with three days on campus learning traditional geologic basics and techniques: rocks, minerals, basic mapping, and processes. Students spend the rest of the course in the field observing, identifying, studying, and experiencing geology. In the field, students spend their time learning Earth systems, tectonics, volcanics, environments of deposition, aeolian, karst, fluvial, glacial, and coastal processes, resources obtained through drilling and mining, as well as, human-induced hazards in the environment.

The field course, which is routed around Texas and includes a small portion of New Mexico, allows investigation of both modern and ancient environments. This provides students the opportunity to study a variety of structures, features, and environments from the Precambrian to the Holocene.

Today the energy industry is facing a crisis with much of their geologists approaching retirement. To help address this crisis, a major factor of the G-Camp approach is to attract the best and brightest students to produce the next generation of geoscientists. The mission of G-Camp for Students is to help create a well-educated, highly-qualified, highly-motivated, visionary, and ethical geosciences workforce.