An inexpensive, concentrated field experience across the Cordillera
Alison Lathrop, Ballard E. Ebbett 2006 Journal of Geoscience Education v54 p165-171
We offer a short expedition focused on developing the sense of geologic space and time traditionally acquired during field camp to a wide range of students, including future geoscientists, environmental scientists, K-12 teachers, and anyone planning to communicate geoscience to the public. The expedition and minimal prerequisites fit easily within crowded program requirements. Our methodology is adaptable to most regions, although we chose a transect from the Colorado Plateau to the Sierras because of minimal vegetation, easily distinguishable formations and structures, and the relationship of the geologic history of the region to more obvious plate tectonic events in the Coast Ranges and Sierras of California. This relationship is spectacular and always stirs the imagination of our students. We focus upon enabling students to interpret the landscape wherever they are and to place it within a bigger picture by refining their observational skills at all scales and by requiring intensive practice in inquiry-based critical thinking as they propose and evaluate continuallyevolving geological ideas. Active learning promotes facility with maps, images, and current literature and prompts vigorous debate. Extensive pre- and post-trip course-embedded assessments support writing across the curriculum.