GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 98-8
Presentation Time: 10:30 AM


BENTLEY, Callan1, CHAZEN, Caitlin2 and MORALES, Marla2, (1)Geology program, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA 22652, (2)Geology program, Northern Virginia Community College, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22652

In June of 2019, we conducted a novel professional development activity for geoscience instructors in our area. This "field workshop" used a one-day geology field trip as a prompt to consider issues of maximum efficacy in designing and facilitating field experiences for students. The workshop was supported (and prompted) by our work as Change Agents with the SAGE 2YC project (Supporting and Advancing Geoscience Education at Two-Year Colleges, an NSF-funded initiative to help two-year college geoscience faculty implement high-impact, evidence-based instructional and co-curricular practices that will lead to improved STEM learning, broadened participation, & a more robust STEM workforce). The field workshop had eleven participants from eight institutions at the high school (4) and two-year-college level (7), from both Maryland (4) and Virginia (7).

Field trips, particularly those in urban landscapes, provide an excellent resource for students with limited experience in the outdoors. In exploring Rock Creek Park, faculty will be introduced to a new and exciting field trip they can take back to their campuses. Additionally, this field trip will provide a great jumping off point for inclusive teaching methods. The workshop allowed participants to generate and share ideas for field trips and engaging talks to take back to individual campuses.This workshop examined eight sites in Rock Creek Park and adjacent D.C. neighborhoods to examine outcrops from the Piedmont and Coastal Plain geological provinces, the unconformity that separates them, and recent reverse faults that offset the unconformity. We also examined serendipitous "exposures" of building stones from regions more exotic to D.C., on a municipal bridge and in the restaurant where we had lunch.

Issues discussed included pre-field trip preparation, logistics and legalities, access to sites on various properties, outcrop cleaning and maintenance, the role of redundancy in effectively transferring information, the ethics of planting samples on sites so students may discover them, the ethics of tailoring one's geological story for the audience at hand (offering a simple story when the reality is more complicated), the role of field graphics (including on-site drawing), the balance of "touring" versus "exploring," informal testing (of geopetal structures), and the importance of imparting a visceral sense of moving through geological structures in field space.

The field workshop was favorably evaluated by participants, & we were inspired to do similar workshops in the future.