Student-Designed Mapping Project as Part of a Geology Field Camp

Resource category: 
Articles and Special Issues
Kelley, D. F., Sumrall, J. L., & Sumrall, J. B. (2015). Student- Designed Mapping Project as Part of a Geology Field Camp, Journal of Geoscience Education, 63(3), 198-209. DOI: 10.5408/14-003.1
Resource URL: 

During the summer of 2012, the Louisiana State University (LSU) field camp program was affected by close proximity to the large Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, CO, as well as by a fire incident on the field camp property. A mapping exercise was created that incorporated spatial data acquired on the LSU property to investigate research questions that were developed by the students. The ownership of the design, implementation, and reporting of the project from start to finish generated strong personal interest from the students and led to enhanced academic performance. Four of the six student groups that conducted this exercise chose to investigate questions related to wildfire on the property. The influence of the events of the summer was strong in shaping their interest and project design. Furthermore, the connection to the wildfire events and the camp property itself strengthened the interest level of the students and the sense of ownership of the projects. While the specific events of that summer field camp program are not possible to re-create, we show here that the strategy of allowing students to control as much of the project design as possible is a good strategy for enhancing student interest and thus strengthening the achievement of learning objectives. This can be achieved while still providing students with the academic content as appropriate for the curriculum of a given course.


This page last updated 18 May 2019 - 9:00pm