Geologic Field Trip for Earth Science Teachers: Bringing Geologic Concepts Together

Type of Culminating Activity

Graduate Student Project

Graduation Date


Degree Title

Master of Science in Earth Science



Major Advisor

Walter S. Snyder


Earth Science teachers need ways to excite their students about learning. One way to accomplish this for the Earth Sciences is to get them into the field where they can experience the environment first hand. It has been shown through research that field trips improve student attitudes toward science, student learning in science, and their attitude toward the environment. While some experiences can be brought into the classroom to help with student learning, the learning should not be confined to the classroom. Outdoor learning is not meant to replace classroom learning, but to enhance it. Many teachers don't take field trips due to lack of planning time, funding, transportation, and/or resources for assistance. The field trip guide presented as part of this thesis is meant to reduce some of those obstacles for teachers. The field trip focuses in southwestern Idaho, with the trip starting in Wilder, Idaho, proceeding through Marsing and Murphy to the Shoofly oolite beds and then a leg to Wilder. Teachers using this guide may take this specific field trip or adapt the activities in the guide to create a field trip in their own area. There are eight stops on this field trip. Concepts covered include river features, hot springs and geothermal activity, the Bonneville Flood, weathering and erosion, fossils, oolites deposits, petroglyphs, volcanism, and GPS and mapping. These concepts are also linked to the Idaho State Achievement Standards for Education in Science. The guide includes maps, descriptions of the drive from stop to stop, safety measures, and activities. Scientific information is included for each stop for teachers to know and teach to their students. Using this guide, teachers can get their students out to the Earth, experiencing the Earth, and learning geologic concepts and skills first-hand.

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