TEACHING A COLLEGE-LEVEL GEOLOGY CLASS AT A HIGH SCHOOL: CHALLENGES AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS
Most high school classes meet 5 days a week in the same room for about 55 minutes. Special schedules can reduce this time to as little as 35 minutes. All lectures and labs occur in the same class room. There are no special lab facilities at most high schools. Because the labs take place over multiple days with set- up and clean-up included in the class time, labs can take longer to finish. Students are required to check their books out from the library and are not allowed to write in their books. High school students are minors (even those who are 18). All permission forms for field trips (permission and medical) and photographs must be signed by the parent or legal guardian. Transportation for field trips must be provided by the school.
College classes meet in a lecture hall 3 times a week for an hour and then in a lab room for 3 hours for a lab. Students are responsible for purchasing their own books. College students are adults and can sign their own forms, provide their own transportation for field trips and are expected to have college level study skills to be successful.
Challenges to starting up a new dual-credit geology class include identifying a qualified teacher and finding a partner university geoscience department. High school administrators have to be convinced of the value of the class. Objections from other science teachers who are concerned that the class will take students away from their established AP classes have to be overcome. This presentation will be based on the experience of 6 teachers who started a dual-credit class at their schools in the Kern High School District in California.