Campus landscaping by constructing mock geologic outcrops
David J. Matty 2006 Journal of Geoscience Education v54 p445-451
Student learning in the geosciences is enhanced by exposure to geology "in the field," where students put knowledge into practice to solve problems and make interpretations. Nonetheless, geography and cost may limit the ability of many institutions to provide adequate field experiences for their students, especially in large introductory courses. However, institutions may transform portions of their campuses into geological learning environments conducive to instruction at all levels by constructing mock outcrops. On our campus, we have constructed a variety of mock outcrops that range from simple groupings of lithologically distinct boulders to a complex "campus geological area" encompassing a variety of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks, various artificial unconformities, and simple to complex structural relationships. Students from all instructional levels utilize the contrived geology that we have constructed and results indicate enhanced student learning as an outcome. By learning from our experiences, including the successful and unsuccessful events that helped us develop our campus as an educational tool for the geosciences, others may be able to better develop their own campus in support of geoscience instruction.