Field Presentation

Sarah R. Hall, College of the Atlantic

Calla Schmidt, University of San Francisco

Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College


During the E-STEM Field Course, each student was responsible for a field presentation related to a geology, geomorphology, hydrology, and/or ecology topic specific to the Sierras or Owens Valley. Depending on the topic and time constraints, the presentation will be given at a field site or prior to visiting a field site. These presentations range from being loosely related to the site to providing their peers with additional background relevant to their field work at the site.

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Learning Goals

Content/Concept Goals:

Students will...

  • Use peer-reviewed literature and other scholarly sources to develop an oral presentation appropriate for an undergraduate audience on geology, geomorphology, hydrology, and/or ecology topic specific to a Sierras or Owens Valley field area.

Other Skills Goals for this Activity:

Students will...

  • Develop a presentation that is scientifically accurate, thorough, and applicable to a field site.
  • Develop a presentation that is effective with respect to teaching and learning, i.e., understandable to other students, level-appropriate, interesting, and well-organized.

Context for Use


This activity was completed during the 2-week summer E-STEM Field Course with ~20 undergraduate students interested in environmental science.

How the Activity is Situated in the Course:

View the E-STEM field course timeline for more information about how this activity was situated in the course. The student handout also provides the topics which will align with the sites of different activities.

Description and Teaching Materials

Student Handout

FieldPresentationHandout (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Apr15 20)

Teaching Notes and Tips

A few teaching notes for faculty:

  • Prior to the start of the field course, faculty came up with a list of presentation topics and an article for each topic. Students selected their presentation topics before the field course began.
  • If possible, individual meetings with students prior to their presentation would be helpful in ensuring that the skills goals will be met (scientifically accurate, thorough, applicable to a field site, effective teaching and learning, etc.)
  • The fluid nature of a field course means that sometimes, the presentation schedule must be modified. We found that it was extremely important to communicate these schedule changes to the presenters as soon as possible and to make sure that no presentation was changed to an earlier date than originally advertised to the presenter. A later presentation date than originally planned did not seem to be a problem.


Grading Rubrics

FinalPresentationRubric.pdf (Acrobat (PDF) 120kB Feb14 20)

The community college students were also asked to complete a short multiple choice exam on the content of the presentations.

2017 example: EstemPresentationQuestions2017.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Apr30 20)

2018 example: estempresentationquestions2018.docx (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB Apr30 20)


As on the field course syllabus, the field presentations comprise 100 points, or 10% of the total grade in the course.