Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Investigative Field Work: a New Approach
Originator John Hunt
Department GEMRU, Cheltenham & Gloucester College of Higher Education, Francis Close Hall, Swindon Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4AZ
Tel. +44 (0)1242 532945
Fax. +44 (0)1242 543283
E-mail jhunt@chelt.ac.uk

Increasingly there are pressures to cut back on fieldwork, or at the very least our expectations are forced towards the concept of reduced subsidy or full cost charging. In order to underpin second year studies, non-compulsory field work at Level I has be designed to maximise intellectual content consonant with the students obtaining maximum enjoyment and thereby opting into the course in high numbers.

This has been achieved in a field programme based on problem solving and lateral thinking exercises. Students are grouped into teams which compete against the clock to solve a wide variety of physical geography related study. The concept is based in the 1980's TV series "Now Get Out Of That!". An example of this approach is based on investigation of sediment reworking depths on sand and shingle beaches. Student "teams" are given a collection of extraneous and potentially useful equipment/paraphernalia and are expected to design and implement an experiment to answer the question. By engaging in the mental creativity required to solve the problem, the students gain a deeper understanding of the nature of environmental processes. Different experimental problems are set in a variety of geomorphological settings. Marking of the student groups is based in mid-point grades (45% 50%,55%, 60% etc.) for a variety of observed categories (lateral thinking, initiative, academic knowledge, leadership etc.). These marks are averaged for each student over the week.

Keywords:

Group work
Fieldwork
Lateral thinking
Problem solving


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Page created 3 February 1997
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