GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 26-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


SULLIVAN, Micheal1, MCEVERS, Bailee1, PETERSON, Annalie1, MARCOUILLER, Thomas1 and LEPPER, Kenneth2, (1)Geosciences, North Dakota State University, P.O. Box 6050 / 2745, Fargo, ND 58108, (2)Department of Geosciences, North Dakota State University, P.O. Box 6050 / 2745, Fargo, ND 58108-6050

Academic research is often a very different reality from regular undergraduate coursework. Combining authentic research objectives with mentored fieldwork and laboratory training in a course can provide invaluable knowledge transfer and synthesis opportunities for students, but authentic research courses are not often incorporated into university undergraduate curriculums. ChronoQuest is a team based, student co-managed authentic geochronology research course that offers a hands on experience collecting and synthesizing literature, field and laboratory data. The course offers undergraduate level students an introductory experience with authentic geoscience research. Within the course context students develop team-orientated skills such as developing goals, deadlines, and strategies while taking ideas and skills learned in the other classrooms and applying them to situations in the field or lab. Students were able to learn how to read and interpret scientific papers and apply information to the research in question. We learned to connect our local work to global scale knowledge and had discussions on what the data may mean for our understanding of global climate change as a whole. In previous years, ChronoQuest teams identified an anomaly in ages for the Tintah shoreline that they hypothesized could be interpreted as an older glacial lake that predates Lake Agassiz, which they termed Lake Venetz. The 2019 ChronoQuest team’s goal was to lend more credence to previous research and to extend the geospatial coverage of dated Tintah sites. Students spent the spring 2019 semester developing background knowledge about Lake Agassiz to define their research goals and select sample sites. Samples were collected late in the spring term and dated using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) methods. The fall 2019 semester will focus on interpretation of results, and presenting findings to the community. Students hope their efforts will ultimately culminate in a scientific publication, but are understanding of the fact that the data set may need to be combined with future ChronoQuest team data before the endmost goal is realized. This presentation will overview the tenants of the project that are central to the course, but will primarily focus on the student’s impressions of their educational gains from the team-based research experience as well as their reflections on the self-management and self-governing aspect of the project as a whole.