Geology of National Parks
Course Type: Intro Level Physical Geology
The course is an elective and is typically taken by geology majors, although I also have had students with a non- science background (e.g., criminal justice) who were simply interested in the topic.
The course has no lab section.
In your department, do majors and non-majors take separate introductory courses? noIf students take a "non-majors" course, and then decide to become a major, do they have to go back and take an additional introductory course? yes
Although listed as a 3000 level course with a prerequisite of one of the introductory geology courses (physical or historical geology), this course can be taken by students of all levels. It does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses.
1) Scenery developed by weathering and erosion on flat-lying rocks;
2) Caves and reefs;
3) Landscapes shaped by continental or alpine glaciation;
4) Volcanic features and volcanic activity; and
5) Landscapes and structures in areas of complex mountains.
Students with some background in geology can apply their knowledge acquired in other classes and transfer it to real-world settings found in the United States.
Towards the end of the semester all students are required to present a National Park or State Park in the form of a Power Point presentation as well as creating a flier for the class describing the geology of their chosen park. Students learn how to summarize a topic and how to present their work to a group.
- gained a basic understanding of the regional geology of the United States.
- obtained a good understanding of basic elements of physical and historical geology.
- developed an awareness for the natural world surrounding us.
- learned to apply geologic principals.
By giving a presentation about a National or State Park to the class, students gain a deeper appreciation for the geology of their surroundings.
By requiring students to research and present a topic to the class they learn qualities that go beyond the scope of a science class. Public speaking is a challenge for many. With a class size of 15-20 students, the setting is ideal for facing this challenge.
References and Notes:
I liked the presentation of the National Parks based on their respective geologic settings. It allows for the introduction of a general topic and then applying it by presenting a few selected parks.