40 Assignment: Design Your Own Fieldtrip

Module 13 Assignment

Design Your Own Field Trip

A large rocky peak with green grass at its base, the sun shining on one side
Figure 1. Sunrise on Picacho Peak, Arizona


Many students choose a geology course because they enjoy the outdoors. Perhaps you are one of those people. Do you enjoy hiking, taking a picnic out to the mountains, or visiting National Parks? Or maybe you prefer taking long drives to enjoy the landscape around you or visiting museums? This assignment will encourage you to visit one of the parks, natural areas, or museums in your area as you design your own field trip!

Perhaps you have a favorite location you like to visit frequently that you would like to share with me. If you don’t have a favorite place, or you are not accustomed to getting into the great outdoors, now is the time to start thinking about a local destination that intrigues you. This destination should have features that are related to the fields of geology, hydrology, astronomy, environmental science, or climate/atmospheric science.

This could be a museum, a park, a hiking trail, or a beautiful mountain drive, for example. If you don’t know where to start, it is always a good idea to begin by asking your friends or family about places they might recommend. If you’re not sure that your destination of choice is appropriate for this assignment, feel free to email your instructor to check in first.


Step 1: Do a little research.

Before you begin planning your field trip, review some references (either online or at the library) that discuss the geology or natural history of the area you would like to visit. Read about your destination so you have a good idea of what to expect. Write down some notes for later.

Step 2: Map it out.

A map is always a helpful addition to any field trip. You can either create your own or use one that you find online. Just make sure that you cite your source in a caption under the map. If directions are needed to find this destination (particularly if it is not well known), be sure to include those as well.

Step 3: Get out and have some fun!

Take a notebook, any notes you made from your references, your map, and start exploring! A note for hikers or wilderness explorers: I encourage you to take a friend along, especially if you choose to hike in the wilderness.

Please take plenty of water, sunscreen, hat, cell phone, and emergency first aid. You are not required, nor is it recommended, to go out and explore any wilderness or remote areas for this course, particularly on your own. If you are accustomed to that type of activity and that is your preference, that is fine. But I am not asking you to put yourself in a situation where you might be vulnerable.

This should be a fun and safe activity that can incorporate friends and family if you wish!

Step 4: Tell the class about it.

Once you return home, write about your experiences! Tell us about where you visited, what you did while you were there, and some geological or natural history of the area. Don’t skimp on this last part! Also include some details, such as:

  • Where should one go first when they arrive?
  • Are there particular field trip stops that you feel are most important?
  • What should we expect at each stop?
  • What geological (or related) feature are we looking at when we get to each stop?

Your write-up should be at least 2-3 pages, including photos, a map, and text. Most important, just be creative!

Submit to the Assignments tool and paste a copy into the Field Trip Discussion topic to share wth the class.


20 points: Report summarized your experiences and included some background geological or natural history of the area. Spelling and grammar were correct and complete sentences were used. Photographs were included. Report was an appropriate length.

17 points: Report summarized your experiences and some geology of the area, photographs were included, but may need a little more discussion or length. Report may contain a few spelling or grammar errors.

15 points: Report is missing some detail on geology/natural history, or some necessary photographs. It included some spelling and grammar errors and may be missing some length.

10 points: Report was missing a good amount of detail on geologic or natural history of the area as well as length, did not include enough photographs, and may have significant spelling and grammar errors.

0 points: Did not complete the assignment.


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