Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 2:20 PM
BUILDING A HIGH SCHOOL GEOLOGY COURSE THAT EARNS COLLEGE CREDIT
Geology at Hudsonville High School is an elective course offered to juniors and seniors. The instructor has a B.S. in Geology from GVSU and an M.A. in education. All students at Hudsonville are required to take a minimum of three years of science. Freshmen take Earth science, sophomores take biology, and juniors choose between chemistry and physics. However, students have the option to take the required sciences concurrently to allow for more elective options. Geology is modeled after Grand Valley State University’s physical geology class. The curriculum includes chemistry and minerals, igneous rocks, sedimentary rocks, metamorphic rocks, weathering and erosion, mass wasting, plate tectonics, volcanism, earthquakes, geologic time, surface water, ground water, glaciers, landforms, and energy and resources. The class meets for two trimesters, about 25 weeks. There are also two field trips. In the fall, the class goes to Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula for 5 days. In the spring, the class returns to the Upper Peninsula to explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for 4 days. Although these trips are not required, no fewer than 85 percent of the students have attended. The style of the class simulates a college lecture with lab. During a typical week, the students will take notes, answer many questions, and test 3 out of 5 days. The other two days are spent in lab identifying rocks and minerals or landforms, studying topographic maps, or completing inquiry based labs. Everything studied in class is done to prepare the students for final exam administered by GVSU faculty. Their performance on this exam counts as 20 percent toward their final grade. School administration has been extremely supportive toward this program and, in particular, the field trips. Getting students in the field has inspired many to pursue careers in the Earth Sciences. Hudsonville has another unique elective course called Summer Science Institute. This is a field course in geology and ecology that travels to the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Park. The class involves 2 teachers, 24 seniors, and 3 weeks. Although not required, most of the students have taken geology prior to taking the field course. Again, administrative support makes a class like this possible.