Paper No. 115-5
Presentation Time: 2:45 PM
BREAKING THE ICE WITH A BLANK MAP
The first day of a new school year often comes with a lot of excitement, hope, and a little anxiety, especially for incoming freshmen who may also be experiencing their first time away from their homes and families. Some students may also feel uneasy about their courses and learning unfamiliar topics. To overcome these fears about college, faculty often conduct ice breaker activities so that students can become acquainted with one another. In my National Parks Geology class, I conduct an ice breaker activity using a blank map of the United States. In small groups, students consult with each other about National Parks that they have been to, or heard of, and locate those parks on the blank map. After a few minutes of conversation, students are then asked to label those parks according to the predominant rock type. Student reactions vary to this request; some have visited many parks (especially those in Utah), whereas others have never been to a park unit. However, the goals of the ice breaker are to get students engaged from the first moments of the first class period, to recognize that public lands have been designated because of geologic features, and to demonstrate how geologic maps are made through identifying rock types at specific locations. Throughout the semester, the geography of National Parks is emphasized along with the geology, and the semester concludes with a similar blank map activity. In this presentation, I will demonstrate the face-to-face version of ice breaker and comment upon how this same activity can be modified for online (synchronous) use.