TOTLE in the Field:

Frank D. Granshaw
Earth Science Instructor
Portland Community College
Portland, Oregon


"TOTLE in the Field" is a set of virtual field environments built to enhance and extend the field component of the TOTLE (Teachers on the Leading Edge) summer workshops. The web address at the end of this summary is for the virtual environment, an accompanying teachers manual, and a student activity page that links the virtual environments to a series of guided inquiry activities. (link may be unavailable)

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Learning Goals

To enhance the field experience of teacher workshop participants by...

  1. Familiarizing them with geography and geology of the sites that they visit during the workshop.
  2. Familiarizing them with the guided inquiry activities that they will engage in during the field trip.

Context for Use

Though the virtual environment and the accompanying activities were designed for use in a specific teacher professional development program, they have been used by some of the workshop participants in their own classrooms (middle school earth science), and by some of the workshop staff in their classes (undergraduate geology courses). While many of these instructors have used the environment as a presentation tool, it was built to support guided inquiry, rather than direct instruction.

Description and Teaching Materials

TOTLE in the Field

  • Virtual Field Environment - A desk-top virtual environment that allows users to explore the general geology and tectonics of the Pacific Northwest, as well as volcanic and seismic hazards associated with specific places in western Oregon and Washington.
  • A teachers guide providing geologic background relevant to the places represented by the virtual environment and a series of activities related to virtual sites contained in it.
  • Student activity page - A web page linking specific sites to specific activities.

Teaching Notes and Tips

See the TOTLE in the Field teachers manual.


The effectiveness of this tool for teacher education was evaluated during the workshop via a series of pre- and post- activity surveys and post workshop surveys. Formal assessment with students has yet to be done.

References and Resources

See the TOTLE in the Field teachers manual.