TEACHING FIELD-BASED GEOSCIENCE AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL: SUCCESSES, AREAS FOR GROWTH AND APPLICATION TO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION
It is clear that geoscience is well-suited for place-based learning because it relies on observations of the natural world. Place-based learning itself is beneficial in increasing motivation and interest amongst students, and fostering meaningful knowledge and understanding. Therefore, teaching geoscience at the high school level not only accomplishes academic objectives, it also develops scientific reasoning, ability in inquiry and application of scientific practices. Novel final products at the end of our high school geoscience fieldwork puts students in a position to become the creators of new datasets, results, and interpretations rather than passive consumers of content. For example, in one of our case studies, students created a record of soil moisture in a transect from the Pacific Coast to Nevada across the state of California to document and test the existence of a rain-shadow. However, a standing challenge is identifying an authentic audience for these fieldwork outcomes. Nevertheless, we have found through these case studies that extended time conducting fieldwork allows students to engage deeply with a single, specific geoscience subject at a time, grapple extensively with difficult topics and produce results that would otherwise be nonviable to achieve through a more traditional classroom setting.