From Earlham Cluster Department
Course Module-GEOS211 Physical Geology (this is approximately one page of single-spaced text in MS Word)
Physical Geology at Earlham is an introductory-level course that is taken by both science and non-science majors. Students in this course who are non-science majors generally lack confidence in their ability to Ã¢â‚¬Å“doÃ¢â‚¬Â science and have had little to no exposure to an inquiry-based science classroom. In this course module, students will apply basic geologic methods of analysis to an environmental project. By the end of this module, students will be able to:
- Use web-based GIS to display and organize data relevant to the characterization of the project site.
- Use field and laboratory observations to describe the geology of the project site.
- Organize and analyze geochemical data to make interpretations about the heavy metal concentrations in the region of the project site.
- Create a scientific report synthesizing the results of the project and suggesting areas for further study.
Upon completion of the project, selected students will present results to other introductory-level students participating in courses with applied modules. All students will then be required to write a report describing the different approaches and results each of these courses takes in studying this environmental problem. (may be revised based on how we decide to structure our multidisciplinary efforts)
This module will use the final four laboratory sessions in Physical Geology. Students will have a basic background in geology and will be able to apply that knowledge to the local area. Each laboratory section has a maximum of twenty-two students, with one professor and one upper-level undergraduate teaching assistant.
Week One: Readings and worksheets will focus on the general problem of metals in the environment. This will be keyed to discussions of the hydrologic cycle with an emphasis placed on the connection between groundwater flow and subsurface geology. Students will begin to learn how to use web-based GIS to create displays of the study area.
Week Two: Field trip to the project site. Students will examine the geology of the project site (Springwood Lake) and participate in a demonstration of sampling a sediment core from the lake.
Week Three: Students will, in teams, describe a suite of sediment cores, in terms of sediment texture, color, sorting, or other sedimentological differences.
Week Four: Students will be given geochemical data keyed to the cores described in Week Three (geochemical data will have been collected by upper-level geochemistry students or will have been collected as part of a summer research project). Students will be required to plot and analyze this data and make interpretations about the concentrations of heavy metals in Springwood Lake over time as a result of their analysis. Students will then write a full scientific report of this project and share the results with other introductory-level science students working on different aspects of this project.