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

Paper No. 156-9
Presentation Time: 3:50 PM


KAISER, Jason F., Physical Science Department, Southern Utah University, 351 West Center Street, Cedar City, UT 84780, HOGAN, John, Geological Sciences and Engineering, Missouri University of Science and Technology, 127 McNutt Hall, Rolla, MO 65401, MACLEAN, John S., Geology, Southern Utah University, SC 309, 351 West University Boulevard, Cedar City, UT 84720 and HARGRAVE, Jennifer E., Physical Science, Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT 84720, jasonkaiser@suu.edu

The Southern Utah University and Missouri S&T field camps have a deep tradition of “geologic immersion” where construction of geologic maps creates opportunities for students to forge a holistic geologic view of the world. The impact on student growth of timely assessment and feedback on geologic maps is lessened by the logistics of mapping multiple classic localities. Previously mapped areas are evaluated, commented on, and returned to students that are busy mapping the next area. So while problems with insufficient strike and dip data or application of the “Rule of V’s” can be corrected, a student that misinterprets an unconformity as a fault is unlikely to be able to return to an area and reevaluate their interpretation. To mitigate this problem, and promote a more active and experiential learning environment, both field camps employ student-led field “defense” trips through project mapping areas. Several leading questions such as “What is the nature of the contact along the western edge of the Navajo Formation?” are provided at the start of mapping projects. While mapping the assigned area, each group is responsible for locating suitable outcrops or overlooks that demonstrate their answer for each question. The day of the trip, students draw numbers to assign questions such that all groups will be prepared to answer all questions. This promotes lively and interactive discussions and timely peer-review feed-back. Each group presents their interpretation at the chosen location, followed by questions and presentation of alternative models from the class. The “facts” are reviewed and debated in small groups, followed by general discussion and a summary by the lead group. Faculty serve as drivers and offer brief suggestions to the group, but do not validate or refute ideas presented – this is accomplished by the students participating in the trip. In addition to putting each student in a leadership role, the field trips allow students to defend themselves, ensure that every student sees key outcrops provide extra motivation from having to present to the class and force the class to piece together the entire geologic history before leaving the field. Student-led field “defense” trip through project mapping areas have become major learning “events” during the Southern Utah University and the Missouri S&T geologic field camps.