Project 2: Virtual Field Trip to Signal Hill and Environs

  General Information

Lead Teacher(s): Jim Abbott - Geology Teacher
(jabbott@calvin.stemnet.nf.ca)

Dave Snook - Resource Teacher
(dsnook@calvin.stemnet.nf.ca)

School: Queen Elizabeth Regional High School
P.O. Box 160
Foxtrap, Newfoundland
A0A 2J0
Tel: (709) 834-2081(2)
Fax: 834-7121
Grade Level: Level II and III
Number of Students: Approximately 100
Project Start and Finish Dates: Production - February 2, 1997 - May 29, 1997
Delivery - September 1998

  Project Overview

We envision an initial project called "Virtual field trip to Signal Hill and environs". One of three to be used in conjunction with Geology 3203, the other two being "Virtual field trip to Trans-Canada Highway, Foxtrap area and Manuels’ River", and "Virtual field trip to Marine Drive and Northeastern Avalon". The latter two are to be completed in the two subsequent years.

Background

Signal Hill National Historic Park is not only remarkable from its human history but unique from the point of view that it lays bare large- and small-scale geologic features discussed in Geology 3203. In a tour that starts at Deadman’s Pond, Just east of the Battery Motel, and proceeds to Gibbet Hill, Queen’s Battery and the crest of the Hill, students can view evidence of glaciation, see features of bedding, such as the sometimes difficult to grasp concepts of dip and strike and discrete variation of particle size in the sandstone-conglomerate formation and how this relates to changes in the ancient environment. The top of the Hill provides more than just a panoramic view of The City, but here we illustrate the concept of the syncline and by extent, the much larger scale geosyncline (both of which concepts occur in the course material) and indicate glacial features, such as erratic boulders which are in evidence in the Ross’ Valley-North Head area to the east of the Tower. The trip continues down the east slope of the Hill to Ross’ Valley-North Head and along a narrow walking trail which traverses the west face of the Hill and back to the junction of Signal Hill Road and The Battery.

Rationale

It is difficult to teach a descriptive science like Geology from only a textbook. Some concepts require hands- or eyes-on contact for their effective teaching. With the cost of busing, shortage of substitute time and the necessity of taking students away from other classes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avail of the field trip as a teaching tool.. This project -though not the real thing- is intended to fill the instructional void by providing a degree of access to this material.

The intent is to acquaint students with evidence of past glaciation, sedimentation and the rock record, larger-scale structural features and to "develop an appreciation of the value of geologic knowledge". (Geology 3203 Course Description) Both the goals and the content are addressed directly in the Course Description. We feel the applicability of the content vis-a-vis the Description is self-evident.

Because winter is not a good time to conduct Geological field work (in fact, undertaking Signal Hill in winter could be suicidal), we propose a start date of April-May 1998 when the weather is more clement. However, identifying and establishing links, script writing etc. could be started ASAP.

Project Idea

Our project idea will be an online activity that will teach those concepts attained through an actual field trip. Through the use of the World Wide Web students will visit our "Virtual Field Trip" site as well as other related sites. They will observe student-produced photographs, diagrams and explanations. They will explore relevant links as researched by their peers.

Production Team

We see about ten students involved in the production of this project, with their roles ranging from photography to script writing to Internet research to establish suitable sites to provide useful links to elaborate on items of subject material and support the project generally. The students involved in the actual production will, of course, develop and hone their HTML skills.

Our initial production idea involves:

- site visits
- the utilization of still photography with a digital camera
- the uploading of the resulting images
- the writing and recording of an appropriate script and text documents
- the uploading of those text documents

Project Participants

Once the virtual field trip has been produced it will be an integral part of the Geology 3203 curriculum. At Queen Elizabeth we have 3 Geology classes with a total of 100 students. All these students will use this resource to enrich Geology concepts. As well, any person visiting our web site will have the opportunity to explore this learning resource.

  Curriculum Connections

The project is meant primarily to support the Geology 3203 offering in the Science curriculum. However, one can see it supporting some areas of the Geography course offering and possibly even with application in Cultural Heritage.

On completion of the unit, students will have developed an increased level of knowledge of the geological concepts presented by the field trip.

Specifically, they will be able to explain with the aid of diagrams, photographs, videos, and hyper-links where applicable:

- the glacial features of plucking, striation, heaving/thawing, erratic boulders and the hanging valley.
 
- the concept of the syncline.
 
- the concepts of bedding and dip and strike.
 
- the nature of and relative direction of movement in a fault.

  Resource Connections

We envisage the completed project to be:

  1. An addition to the resource base supporting Geology 3203. It will be certainly useful to schools in the contiguous St. John’s area. If the actual field trip is a part of the instructional experience; it serves a complementary function; if not, it is a supplementary resource.
  2. Not restricted in that it only serves one particular geographic area. The concepts illustrated on the field trip are universal; it just so happens that this particular site contains so many of them.
  3. Broadening in that the links which will be associated will have the potential to lead students to other curriculum-related sites.
  4. Add to the general base of material which documents part of our natural history.

  Evaluation

Production

Through student observation and task monitoring, the lead teachers intend to develop practical and reasonable production goals. Students will develop competent Internet, media production, writing, and research skills. Through this activity student production managers will enhance their ability to work independently and make sound, responsible decisions.

Delivery

The learning outcomes and evaluation are express and implied in the general and behavioral objectives stated in Curriculum Connections, above. It is our belief that completing the virtual tour will reinforce the learning of core concepts in Geology. These concepts will be tested in the mid-term and final summative evaluation.

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