2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 60-7
Presentation Time: 3:05 PM


NAGY-SHADMAN, Elizabeth A., School of Science and Mathematics - Geology Department, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA 91106, eanagy-shadman@pasadena.edu

Geoscience courses offer a great opportunity to introduce students living in urban areas to aspects of their community that they may never have noticed or understood. Students gain a greater appreciation of their home city when they are introduced to local geologic features in the field, explore the city’s hydrologic infrastructure, examine rock types used to construct local buildings, or learn how and from where the city generates its power, to name a few. These experiences offer a unique compliment to classroom study by connecting geoscience topics to the students’ own surroundings. Designing such experiences for the first time can be challenging and time-consuming for instructors, but there are many strategies that can help produce meaningful and exciting experiences for students. Some of these tactics include (1) developing no more than one new activity/trip per semester, (2) creating pre-trip assignments for which each student must do some research and prepare a “topic” to be presented to the group during the trip, (3) creating informal field trip guides that include parts to be completed by students, (4) a rock- or soil-collecting/classification activity, (5) tying local water and/or power investigations to students’ own neighborhoods, and (6) collaborating with other instructors to run trips simultaneously so that students can observe how geoscientists interact when making scientific observations. This study describes several field activities designed for students in introductory physical geology, oceanography, and earth science courses at Pasadena City College (PCC) in the Los Angeles region of southern California. Southern California offers a host of geologic features and scientifically significant locations to visit, including the active San Andreas fault and related plate boundary structures, erosional coastlines, the 53-mile-long channelized Los Angeles river, the infamous Mt. Wilson Observatory, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. PCC is one of the few colleges in the country that is both a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (ANNAPISI)-eligible. The college serves a diverse student population of more than 25,000 students that are 46% Hispanic/Latino, 21% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 5% African American.