Monday, January 05, 2009

Teaching Geology

My first formal exposure to geology in the 8th grade. There was more earth science in 9th grade, thou the quality of what I received the year before was profoundly better. In college I continued my interest in geology and then declared it as my major. Somehow I got the silly idea to go on and get a masters degree. Today I am lucky enough that I actually have a job in my field.
All along thou the method in which geology was taught seemed out of order to some degree. First you learn minerals and rocks. Then it goes on and on from there. One day it got me thinking : how would I teach geology?
My approach would to first teach environments. Tectonics. Plate interaction. Warm salty seas. Deep cold sea. Volcanic areas. etc. In each case staring with the largest scale working towards the microscopic. Starting with what we can see. Starting with the historic and moving into present day. Then, what to expect at these places. I think it would be a simpler way for younger students to understand what is under their feet. Then, for instance, when you pick up a limestone you start thinking of the environment in which it formed and other rocks or fossils or bed grading or whatever, that may also be associated with it. And why learn anything about schist when studying rocks in Hawaii?
It's just a thought. It's what I do.


  1. Hi Joe, good to see you are still going strong on your blog. So many friends have dropped out but we just keep the engine running! Have a nice and prosperous New Year.

  2. Gee Joe, when you have this Geology class, I really want to be in on it. You know how much I love rocks! Sue

  3. Hi Joe,
    Happy New Year to you and your family !

    I second the motion to be a part of your Geology class !! I did take Geology a long time ago, but a refresher course is always nice.

    BTW; I have a blog award for you to begin 2009 ;)

  4. Even I could find something interesting about learning geology with that approach. Not that I'm knocking geology or anything, had a fair amount of exposure to the geology of er, rocks, growing up, my dad now being a retired geologist ... :)

  5. I just found something for you!

  6. and while you're at it, check out our snow!
    (live pics, updated every 5 minutes)
    How's these temps for ya? ;)

  7. loved geology when i was a kid although my school never had proper classes on it. I used to run around my neighborhood, looking for pretty rocks for my rock collection. When I finally took Geology in high school, I think I fell asleep--teacher was Mr. Wimple and he was AWFULLY boring. Oh well!