NAGT > Teaching Resources > Teaching in the Field > Field Trip Examples > South Carolina Studies: Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard

South Carolina Studies - Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard:

John R. Wagner, Clemson University

Intended Audience: This exercise is suitable for the general public, though we use it as part of an 8th grade unit on geologic time. Students should understand plate tectonics before doing this exercise.

Location:

Drayton Hall historic plantation near Charleston, South Carolina.

This can be done as a single day field excursion.

Summary:

Students visit Drayton Hall historic plantation near Charleston, South Carolina and are led on a field trip that starts with a discussion of documented historic changes that have affected the mansion and the surrounding property. The field trip continues with a study of Native American artifacts and ends with analysis of coastal plain deposits exposed along the Ashley River. Students use paleogeographic maps to discuss both historic and prehistoric changes to the landscape. Back in the classroom, students gather data to draw paleogeographic maps of their own school site through geologic time.

Goals:

After completing this activity, students should understand that the Earth processes we see today (historic time) are similar to those that occurred in the past (geologic time). They should improve their paleographic map reading and interpretation skills, and they should be able to link paleographic features to plate tectonic events occurring during a particular time of geologic history. Students should improve their skills at using data collection methods practiced at one site to obtain new data at a different site.

Notes and Tips:

Students should have a basic understanding of plate tectonics before doing this exercise.

Assessment and Evaluation:

Students will be considered to have mastered the concepts involved if they are able to successfully transfer the interpretation methods learned at Drayton Hall to analyze the geological history of their own school site. Teachers have filled out 'feedback forms' after using the activity. Some classroom visits by external evaluator are planned.

References:

Poster Presentation: South Carolina Studies: Bringing the Geologic Time Scale Down to Earth in the Students' Backyard (Acrobat (PDF) 1.8MB Jan2 06) - this poster highlights major events occurring at Drayton Hall through geologic time with maps and figures. It includes information about the field trip as well, such as information about learning goals, geologic skills, higher order thinking skills, context, evaluation, and a project outline.

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