by Tammy Davis and Michael B. Leite
Department of Geosciences
Chadron State College
Learning geology is a lot more fun when examples from the real world are available. Geological examples are particularly positive and concrete when they come from the students' own back yards. The regions visited on field trips from Chadron State College are full of examples to enrich the study of the earth sciences.
Ideally, teachers of earth science could benefit from field examples in their teaching, but many are limited by time or expense, and others lack expertise in interpreting the local geology. This interpretive photographic guide addresses both concerns. The guide is designed to help teachers both prepare for field trips and to illustrate important earth science concepts-using regional examples-in the classroom.
Field experiences for an earth science course do not need to be extensive or elaborate. Collecting rocks from a single local outcrop would be a useful experience if students were helped to identify and interpret their collections. Furthermore, observing nature first-hand near one's home gives students an idea of how the world they are familiar with fits into the global picture.
This guide is a resource to be used alongside traditional textbooks and classroom instruction. Its audience includes high school teachers, college professors and students, and the general public. Teachers living in the Nebraska Panhandle region have access to excellent geological examples that may be familiar to many of their students. This guide can be used as a study guide introducing the topics of a field trip, or could also serve as a substitute for an actual excursion.
The guide consists of five road logs keyed to photographs. The narrative discusses geological features along the road, with more attention given to especially interesting or informative localities. Although every paragraph in the guide could be a field-trip stop, most users will want to concentrate on certain geological phenomena or regions.
The distance to each stop in miles is given in the center column. This mileage is calculated from the beginning of each loop, and is "reset" to zero at major intersections to facilitate starting a loop in the middle. We recommend that users employ a "navigator" to read the guide while someone else drives. If the images are used as part of a classroom presentation, reading the text and showing corresponding images up to the point of interest might be a useful way to introduce the subject to the audience.
We hope that this guide serves its purpose in introducing the diversity of geological topics available to students in the Nebraska Panhandle region. We welcome comments and suggestions that may result in improvements to this guide for future users.
We thank Gary Romey for kindly allowing us access to his property. The image of the Snake River debris flow is reproduced through the courtesy of the Jackson Hole Guide, Jackson, WY. Thanks to Chris Davis, Kelly Davis, and Tom Halls for assistance in the field. This project was funded by a grant from the Chadron State College Research Institute.
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