Cutting Edge > Geoscience in the Field > Developing Field Skills and Habits > Case Study: Falls of the James
Chuck Bailey
Photo from the College of William and Mary Geology Department website.

Case Study: Falls of the James

This page presents several video clips of Chuck Bailey's introductory geology class trip to the Falls of the James River. Chuck is a structural geology professor at the College of William and Mary. The video clips illustrate one effective approach to teaching geoscience in the field: assigning several short tasks to be completed in small groups, and revealing the correct solutions at the end of each task. This approach utilizes cooperative learning and provides timely (in this case, immediate) feedback, a key factor in student learning.

Watch the Or watch and/or download the entire (23 minute) video in Flash or Quicktime format.


Introduction: Why Take Students Into the Field

In this clip, Chuck explains that he takes students into the field to expose them to real, messy, geologic problems. Length: 00:01:10.

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Orientation Basics: Location

In this clip, Chuck asks students to locate themselves on an aerial photograph using triangulation, then discusses their estimates of their accuracy.

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Rock Descriptions and Relative Ages

In this clip, Chuck points out two lithologies to students and asks each group to describe these two rock units and to figure out their relative ages.

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Measuring and Interpreting Structures

In this clip, Chuch asks students to identify and measure the orientations of structures visible at the outcrop (demonstrating appropriate technique first), and then to interpret the style of fracturing they see.

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Concluding Comments: Synthesizing Observations and Remaining Questions

In this clip, Chuck asks his students to reconstruct the geologic history of this outcrop with his students, then talks with them about what questions they can answer in the field and also what questions they cannot answer in the field.

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