Linked Assignments Based on Geologic Map Interpretations for Synthesizing Content Across Multiple Geology Courses and Meeting Workforce Needs

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session


PRAJUKTI Bhattacharyya, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Jacobs, Peter, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Hanger, Rex, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Geologic maps visually represent a comprehensive geological history of a region, including, but not limited to the stratigraphy, fossil record, deformation history, and available minerals and other resources. As such, they provide a unique opportunity for developing a series of linked classroom activities and formative assignments that can meet the learning objectives of a variety of geology courses. Ultimately this series of linked assignments can be combined into one comprehensive summative assignment in the form of a geologic map report that graduating seniors can include in their portfolios. Such a series of linked assignments can promote synthesis and application of content knowledge across different courses within the major, and help assess students in different courses at various points of the novice-expert continuum. Moreover, since geologic maps are widely used by professional geoscientists, training students in geologic map interpretation skills in context of different courses is important for workforce development. A series of geologic map-based assignments and activities that can be used to link content materials covered in different lower- and upper-level geoscience courses can potentially train students in those skills throughout their undergraduate experience.
At UW-Whitewater we designed and piloted such a series of linked assignments and activities based on the geologic map of Glenn Creek Quadrangle, Montana (USGS GQ 499, M.R. Mudge, 1966). The broad range of structural, lithostratigraphic, and biostratigraphic features shown in this map makes it suitable for meeting the learning objectives of several of our geology courses. Preliminary results show that students who have taken more geology courses are able to produce better quality final reports than less advanced students. This presentation describes our project and preliminary observations, and discusses the effectiveness of such an approach for developing geoscience courses and curriculum for meeting future workforce needs.