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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - undergraduate education

Geology Museum-Based Learning in Soil Science Education


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 42 No. 1, p. 43-48
    Received: Mar 27, 2012
    Published: March 20, 2013

    * Corresponding author(s): eleanam@clemson.edu
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  1. E. A. Mikhailova *a,
  2. C. H. Tennanta,
  3. C. J. Posta,
  4. C. Cicimurrib and
  5. D. Cicimurric
  1. a School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences, Clemson, Univ., Clemson, SC 29634-0359
    b The Bob Campbell Geology Museum, Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC 29634-0359
    c South Carolina State Museum, 301 Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201


Museums provide unique learning opportunities in soil science. The Bob Campbell Geology Museum in Clemson, SC, features an exhibit of minerals and rocks common in the state and in its geologic history. We developed a hands-on laboratory exercise utilizing an exhibit that gives college students an opportunity to visualize regional minerals and rocks from which regional soil parent materials are derived. Clemson University students from various majors had a field trip and a hands-on experience with the local minerals and rocks during FNR 204: Soil Information Systems course taught in the fall 2008, summer 2011, and fall 2011 (134 students total). Students were then asked to fill out a survey providing answers to 15 questions related to their learning experience. Sixty-six percent of the students had never visited a Geology Museum before this field trip and 40% of the students did not know about the Geology Museum’s existence on campus. Ninety-three percent of the students thought the visit to the Geology Museum would be helpful with preparation for class quizzes and exams, and 92% of the students would recommend that their friends visit this museum in their free time. Overall, student responses to the questionnaire about their laboratory experience at the Geology Museum were positive. Laboratory exercises that are specifically designed to bridge university-level course material and museum collections produce learning synergy that is greater than either an independent museum visit or classroom instruction.

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