Paper No. 28
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


BARRETT, Heather Ann, Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Sciences, Miami University, 501 East High St, Oxford, OH 45056, HOMAN, Mindy B., Department of Geology, Miami University, 114 Shideler Hall, Oxford, OH 45056 and KREKELER, Mark P.S., Department of Geology & Environmental Earth Science, Miami University-Hamilton, Hamilton, OH 45011,

Many universities now have science class requirements organized such that introductory geology lecture classes are formally disconnected from geology labs. This creates a situation where lecture students may never interact with a mineral or rock sample. In an effort to bring geological experiences to the lecture students in a more effective manner, a new rock and mineral specimen display was created at the Miami University- Hamilton campus in the Fall of 2011. Exercises were then created centered on the display. Exercises required the students to describe, draw and provide chemical formula information for specimens.

Samples were selected for display because of their exceptional quality, as well as their descriptive characteristics, such as color, cleavage, and symmetry. Relevance to class content was also considered and displays of mine waste and environmentally pertinent minerals were selected. An effort was also made to display a variety of minerals from international localities. Challenges in display preparation included finding high quality and representative specimens such that students would be able to recognize a mineral or rock in the field, as well as the arrangement of the minerals and rocks that would demonstrate the connections between them, such as chemistry and environment.

Challenges in evaluation include completion, neatness and sample confusion by students. Grading is generally not time consuming as approximately 50% of the information is visual. A weak positive correlation was observed in final grades and a common display exercise for two introductory classes for students suggesting some overall benefit. Qualitatively there is some evidence that students who take an introductory course with an emphasis on exercises center on the display perform much better when taking introductory labs after a lecture course. Additionally there is qualitative evidence students with experience with the case exercises are more engaged in introductory level field trips.