I have lab on Tuesday & Thursday this semester (same lab, just half the physical students have lab on Tues & the other 1/2 on Thurs). As I was putting out lab & taking pictures of the samples for my own documentation, I contemplated the fact that of the 13 labs I have scheduled for this semester, I only designed one from the ground up. Let me give you the chart & where they were originally from:
|Lab 1||Rock Stories||Gustavus lab manual||Lab 2||Scientific method||Kim Hannula||Lab 3||Minerals I||Gustavus lab manual||Lab 4||Minerals II||Gustavus lab manual||Lab 5||Rocks I||Gustavus lab manual||Lab 6||Rocks II||Gustavus lab manual||Lab 7||Forest River Park||Rory McFadden||Lab 8||Topographic maps||Gustavus lab manual||Lab 9||locating epicenters||Virtual Earthquake||Lab 10||Structural geology||Me!||Lab 11||Fossils||still looking for a good one to use…||Lab 12||Groundwater||currently use one found on internet, but we just got “ant farms” that I want to try and use||Lab 13||Stream table||also something I want to add this semester cause we have the resources…|
As you can see, I lean strong on the Gustavus material for the rocks & minerals labs, but that department-created lab manual then goes off and focuses on a three-week sequence that involves field trips & drawing a cross-section of the St. Peter, MN area. I can do one week of field trip at Salem State, but only because we can walk to Forest River Park. That field trip is not going to result in being able to determine the geology of the entire Salem quadrangle, so I needed to go another direction.
(The rocks & mineral labs have tweaks due to the fact that I have a different set of samples available, but on the whole, the lab looks amazingly like what I taught while in MN.)
Kim Hannula replied to a tweet that I posted about a year ago & was kind enough to send me her Scientific Process lab. I modified it a bit (had to choose new buildings to measure the distance between) and changed the order of the questions after a few mutterings from the students, but it would be easily recognizable to Kim.
For the topographic map lab, the basis is the Gustavus lab, but I modified it heavily to have the students looking at local maps of Salem and eastern Massachusetts. Still, the bare bones are there if you hold them next to each other.
Unsurprisingly, I got the Forest River Park lab from another professor at Salem State. He had previously received (& modified it) from a different professor. I added a few of my own “twists” to the lab, but it is fairly close to what Rory runs in his physical class.
Though I use the data & maps from the online Virtual Earthquake site, I do print the seismographs out and have the students do the entire process by hand. Its just fun to see the students trying to remember how to use a compass to draw a circle.
Two semesters ago, I used a lab manual for the structure lab. It was the students’ least favorite lab, so I vowed to revise. This past semester, I came up with an entirely online lab where the students use Visual Geology to answer a sequence of questions and then create their own 3D blocks for the final step. The students enjoyed the lab, though I think I need to modify the questions a bit to get more educational benefit from the assignment…
My office-mate is a paleontologist and has an intro fossil lab that I may try and use this year, but I’m open to suggestions. I started lab a week earlier this semester, so this is a new one on the schedule, but students have asked for fossils in the class.
We have equipment to for a more hands-on Groundwater and Stream lab, so my goal is to develop at least one of the two this spring. Or find someone else who has already done the work and tweak. Suggestions anyone? (the groundwater models are new, but the stream table is ancient and definitely not an Emriver model)
As I look at this list, I realize how blessed I have been to be able to take a bit from here and a bit from there for my physical labs. In contrast, when I think of my mineralogy, petrology & structure labs, they are to a large part either slightly modified from what I had or taught as a grad student. There are a few additions from the SERC workshops I’ve attended, but its not nearly the hodgepodge that physical has become.
So, let me ask anyone else out there who teaches intro geology: what do you use for labs? A hodgepodge? A published lab manual? All labs you created yourself?
(Note: this is a bit self-serving, since I’m still trying to find a few more labs to use!)