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Book Chapter

A comparative study of field inquiry in an undergraduate petrology course

By
David Gonzales
David Gonzales
Department of Geosciences, Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado 81301, USA
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Steven Semken
Steven Semken
School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287-1404, USA
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Published:
December 01, 2009

Since 2003, the standard igneous and metamorphic petrology class at Fort Lewis College has been taught as a field-based, inquiry-driven course focused on topics in three different field areas (Ship Rock, Western Needle Mountains, San Juan volcanic field). This format allows undergraduate students to investigate advanced topics in petrology through field research while developing skills for continuing education and scientific careers. These courses serve the needs of the students by promoting critical analysis and inquiry, and building on content taught in previous courses to solve actual geologic problems. Many of the students also find enthusiasm for continued research and make further contributions to the geologic community.

A research-focused field course at the undergraduate level allows students to engage in all facets of research in the context of natural geologic complexity. In addition, these students can collaborate with professional geoscientists to network and find opportunities that are not readily available to their peers outside the course. Engaging undergraduate geoscience students in authentic research projects is a benefit to their education and career development.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Field Geology Education: Historical Perspectives and Modern Approaches

Steven J. Whitmeyer
Steven J. Whitmeyer
Department of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, USA
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David W. Mogk
David W. Mogk
Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, USA
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Eric J. Pyle
Eric J. Pyle
Department of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
461
ISBN print:
9780813724614
Publication date:
December 01, 2009

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