A PROJECT BASED PRE-COURSE GEOLOGY FIELD TRIP FOR K-8 PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS
The first iteration of the fieldtrip was a classic show and tell geology fieldtrip. Unfortunately it did not meet the designed education goals. In general, the major shortcoming was related to the students’ lack of basic concepts of science and the vocabulary of science. For example, most participants had taken only one physical science class in high school and none had taken earth science. To improve the field trip experience, we decided to make it project-based and combine it with a required component in the classroom portion of the new course. The project requires students to produce a video based on their literature research into a geologic topic. This project assesses the student’s ability to engage in scientific practices as well as their ability to disseminate a scientific concept. For our new course, the project revolved around large earth science concepts such as geologic time, mountain building, water, differential weathering, glaciation and other. Teams of students selected a topic and the corresponding field trip stops were designed to meet the needs of the students. This approach engaged the students and circumvented their deficient science background. Preliminary results suggest a project-based pre-course field trip is more effective than a classic geology field trip.