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CCOG for G 200E Fall 2023

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Course Number:
G 200E
Course Title:
Geology Field Studies: Mount St. Helens
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces basic concepts in geology through lecture and a field trip in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens. Prior geology experience recommended. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Geology Field Studies: Mount St. Helens (G 200E) is a one credit course designed to engage students with the earth sciences by examining the geology of the Mount St. Helens area.  The course consists of a one day field trip buttressed by supporting lectures that introduce aspects of geology as needed to explain the geology of the Mount St. Helens area. This course can be used to partly fulfill graduation requirements for the Associate Degree. 

Students are expected to be able to read and comprehend college-level science texts and perform basic mathematical operations in order to successfully complete this course.

Field Based Learning Statement

Earth and space sciences are based on observations, measurements and samples collected in the field. Field-based learning is recommended by numerous professional Geology organizations, including the American Geological Institute and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Field-based learning improves both metacognition and spatial/visualization abilities while helping to transfer basic concepts to long-term memory by engaging multiple senses at the same time. Spatial thinking is critical to success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines. Field work may include:

  • Developing skills in site characterization
  • Application of key terms and concepts
  • Measurement and data collection
  • Interpretation of data and observations, and fitting them to a larger context

Field work may be physically challenging and may require overland travel on foot or other means to field sites, carrying equipment and supplies, and making measurements in unusual or awkward positions for a length of time.  Field work may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel stress, etc.). Field work can be adapted to individual abilities.

Creation Science Statement

Regarding the teaching of basic scientific principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution), the Portland Community College Geology/General Science Subject Area Committee  stands by the following statements about what is science.

  • Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. A scientific theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
  • “Creation science,” also known as scientific creationism, is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F.2d 1004).
  • Geology/General Sceince instructors at Portland Community College will teach the generally accepted basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution) not as absolute truth, but as the most widely accepted explanation for our observations of the world around us. Instructors will not teach that “creation science” is anything other than pseudoscience.
  • Because "creation science", "scientific creationism", and "intelligent design" are essentially religious doctrines that are at odds with open scientific inquiry, the Geology/General Sciences SAC at Portland Community College stands with such organizations such as the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geological Institute in excluding these doctrines from our science curriculum.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completing this course, students should be able to:

A. narrate a geologic history of the Mount St. Helens region by combining site specific content knowledge with limited personal field observations and experiences within the Mount St. Helens region.

B. connect current volcanic hazard assessments of the Mount St. Helens region to the geography and geologic history of the study area.

C. communicate geologic concepts effectively using maps and diagrams in written and/or oral formats.

Course Activities and Design

The material in this course will be presented in a combination of field trip and lecture/discussion. Other educationally sound methods may be employed such as collection of field data, small group work, research papers, presentations and guest lecturers.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. The methods may include one or more of the following tools: examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, field trip write-ups, research papers, small group problem solving of questions arising from application of course concepts and concerns to actual experience, oral presentations, or maintenance of a field note book.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Geologic materials and structures underlying the Mount St. Helens area.
  • Internal and external processes which produced the geologic materials and structures underlying the Mount St. Helens area.
  • The geologic history recorded by the geologic materials and structures underlying the Mount St. Helens area.
  • Geologic hazards associated with the Mount St. Helens area.
  • Geologic resources associated with the Mount St. Helens area.
  • The impact of global change on the Mount St. Helens area.
  • Field based observations of the Mount St. Helens area.
  • Intertwining personal experience and scientific knowledge to create a sense of place for the Mount St. Helens area.