Creating Inquiry-Based Labs for Introductory Geology Courses

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-11:30am


Kelsey Bitting, Elon University
Katherine Ryker, University of South Carolina-Columbia
Rachel Teasdale, California State University-Chico
Inquiry based laboratory activities in undergraduate introductory geoscience courses are important opportunities to engage students. Often, laboratory activities are presented as a series of instructions and questions in a "cookbook" format that guide students to the right answer, but do not engage their curiosity or pursuit of scientific inquiry. Workshop participants will evaluate the level of inquiry in their current introductory geology lab activities, identify strategies to increase the level of inquiry in their labs, and spend time collaboratively developing a suite of inquiry based lab activities for use across institutions in undergraduate introductory geology.

This workshop will provide all eligible* participants who are registered for the workshop with a $170 stipend (secure your spot though the Rendezvous registration form), unless they choose to waive it by contacting Rachel Teasdale. All stipends will be disbursed after the Rendezvous, provided you participate in the entire workshop.

*Please note that stipends are NSF-funded so to be supported by this funding, participants must be either a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or in the employ of a U.S. institution. All participants are expected to participate in the entire workshop.

Who should attend

This workshop is intended for faculty and instructors who want to actively participate in the collaborative design and development of new inquiry labs for introductory geology. We envision participants will a) be involved in teaching or coordinating/overseeing the introductory geoscience labs at their college or university; or 2) otherwise interested in actively participating in and contributing to designing and writing inquiry-based, introductory geology labs.


By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • characterize the levels of inquiry present in sample lab activities in geology labs
  • identify specific strategies to increase the inquiry level of their own lab activities and prepare strategies to implement them
  • create a higher-level inquiry lab addressing one of six commonly taught topics, including minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, earthquakes, geologic time, and groundwater