Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 50-2
Presentation Time: 8:25 AM


LALIBERTE, Elizabeth and MURRAY, Daniel P., Department of Geosciences, Univ. of Rhode Island, 337 Woodward Hall, Kingston, RI 02881

On a variety of time scales (deep time, glacial time, colonial time and modern time) coastal Rhode Island is resplendent with examples of the connections between earth and human history. Field trips provide rich opportunities for people to explore the land and discover the relationship between geology and land use. Rhode Island’s bedrock tells of colliding continents with folding, faulting, magmatism and metamorphism. Erosion and deposition associated with glaciation has provided till and outwash for landforms including moraines and outwash plains. Many colonial and modern features (such as historic forts, stone walls and eroding coasts) are fundamentally controlled by geology. The most effective way to inculcate the NGSS philosophy is to take students outside to a place that is rich with geological and historical connections. Thus this presentation will focus on two examples of RI field trips that exemplify the ways in which the rich geologic and cultural history of RI have been successfully be blended into compelling narratives.

The first case describes students from a geomorphology class at the University of Rhode Island worked with Friends of Canonchet Farm (a non-profit organization) to develop materials publicizing a new “geology loop trail” in Narragansett. Geologic features include evidence from the Late Wisconsin glaciation (erratics, striations and a roche moutonnee) and historic features in the area include the Robinson historic cemetery, a granite step quarry and a variety of stone walls. Four final products were created: a 1-page brochure, a “teacher’s guide” for field trips, a Google Earth “virtual field trip”, and kid’s activity pages. The items have been used by elementary and middle school teachers, community members and during public events such as the annual ‘Gansett Days celebration.

The other case focuses on Beavertail State Park, which contains extensive shoreline exposures that display not only Avalonian and Alleghanian tectonism, but also military fortifications constructed over the last century. This locale is the basis for many field trips that are geared to a diverse audience of students of all ages, teachers, and the general public. Currently K-12 field trips to this locale are being used in the development of NGSS curricular materials.