Integrating teaching with field research in the Wagon Rock Project

Kai Stephen Anderson, Thomas Andrew Hickson, Juliet Gage Crider, Stephan Alan Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


By involving volunteer undergraduate and graduate students in multidisciplinary group field research, the Wagon Rock Project (WRP) provided a valuable opportunity to teach a range of field skills while producing publishable research. The outcome of this cooperative research and teaching effort depended on defining a scientific goal attainable within an appropriate time frame, preparing participants to succeed, orchestrating field work, and ensuring project completion. Establishing the foundation for the WRP included: 1) assessing project feasibility; 2) researching previous work; 3) recruiting participants; 4) defining project methodology; 5) establishing a mapping base; 6) teaching pre-field seminars; and 7) coordinating project logistics. Effective teaching in the field required creating small, cohesive teams comprised of both advanced and novice participants and establishing an enjoyable working environment where the principal objective was publishable research, not grades. Graduate students had the opportunity to learn techniques and perspectives of other geoscience subdisciplines, to teach and mentor undergraduates, to refresh skills forgotten since their undergraduate field camp, and to handle the complex logistics of a large field research project. Undergraduate participants learned field techniques not commonly encountered in field camp, were exposed to the complexities of field research, and acquired field experience that would serve them well in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1999


  • Earth science - teaching and curriculum
  • Education - geoscience
  • Geology - field trips and field study


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