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Abstract

Field instruction has been at the heart of the geoscience curriculum for over a century and a half. The field environment provides learners the opportunity to encounter nature in all its diversity, to experience firsthand the methods and strategies that geologists use to interrogate Earth, and to engage in the social interactions that animate geology as a discipline. The field environment provides a great opportunity for learners to learn science by doing science and to undertake field work as developing scientists. This holds true for learners of all kinds, for K–12and undergraduate students, continuing professional training for graduate students and working geologists, and informal learning by the general public. The purpose of this contribution is to provide an introduction to the many factors that could be considered in the design and implementation of a field trip to provide students with an optimal learning experience. You will have your own motivations and learning goals for your students based on their grade level, curricular needs, and geologic setting; the following ideas are presented as an overview to help you reflect on ways you can prepare to conduct a comprehensive and effective learning experience for your students in the field. A more complete coverage of these topics can be found in Butler (2008),Mask all and Stokes (2008), the special issue of the Journal of Geoscience Education on Teaching in the Field (Manduca and Carpenter, eds., 2006), many articles in Whit meyer et al. (2009),and in a chapter by D.W. Mogk and C. Goodwin for a GSA Special Paper in preparation.

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