TEACHING LOCAL GEOLOGIC HISTORY: WHY WE SEE WHAT WE SEE WHERE WE SEE IT
With Linda Morse from the College of William and Mary Geology Department I identified a contact between two geologic formations on the campus of Christchurch School in Christchurch, VA. With my 9th grade students I collected and analyzed sediments and fossils from this and two other locations on campus. We identified three geologic formations based on these sediments and fossils using various online resources and a geologic map of the Virginia coastal plain.
As a result my students were able to identify three distinct periods in the geologic history of the landscape of the campus. We were able to create a ~5 million year long story that included the sediments, fossils, observed campus topography, and the information from the geologic map about how each geologic formation was formed. My students can now stand on campus and accurately picture what the area looked like millions of years ago.
The evidence of local geologic history is present, if not on every school campus, at least somewhere nearby. I propose that this is an excellent way for college and university Geology departments to make connections with secondary schools; by helping high school teachers locate and interpret evidence of their local dynamic past and geoheritage.