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Field instruction in surface-water hydrology; not a summer course


, : Field instruction in surface-water hydrology; not a summer course. Geological Society of America 41.7

When someone says "field instruction" I usually think about a summer-field-geology course, but there are many other field-instruction venues available. In 1978, Dunne and Leopold's book titled water in Environmental Planning came out. This book was unique in that it suggested using local field exercises to learn about measurement error computation and analysis and to encourage the practice of questioning reports and reported analyses. I decided to incorporate field exercises in my laboratories during the academic year both to teach field-hydrologic-measurement techniques and to encourage critical thinking. For example, the students are asked to make a stream map and measure channel slope, cross section, plan form and channel change at a local stream during a series of exercises. Each time the course is taught, the students return to the site and compare data they collect to the data collected by previous students. This exercise reveals both good and bad data, the importance of good reporting and gives them the opportunity to try to reach a conclusion about channel form and change. The exercises are collaborative. The exercises are at http://www.homepage.montana.edu/%7Euessc/esci432/432labsyllabusmatr ix.html. I have also employed field teaching with high school teachers via distance education. The distance course is part of a Master of Science in Science Education for middle school and high-school teachers. The teachers are asked to develop exercises where they live. I have found I do not need to visit their sites. Exercises can be assessed through discussion, photographs and measurements and computations from reported field data. Exercises can be assessed for reasonableness. Their experiences allow teachers to transfer what they have learned to other teachers and to their students through real data they collected, near where their students live rather than with "canned" data from an unfamiliar and less relevant location.

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