Earth science field trips for ninth grade students in the area of Mendota, Illinois
Field trips have a special place in the teaching of earth science. Through the use of the outdoor laboratory, students, as well as teachers, will develop a more vivid appreciation of earth science. Man's utilization of a natural resource is shown in the field trip to the Troy Grove gas storage aquifer. The geology and operation of a gas storage field will be more significant when students can observe the core samples, wells, turbines and plant facilities associated with this field. Glaciation has played an important role in the sculpturing of northern Illinois. Field trips to the Mendota-Compton area and Harvard-Marengo-Woodstoek area enable the students to observe the type of topography associated with glaciation. Glacial features such as moraines, outwash plains, deposition valleys, breeches, alluvial fans, kames and kettles are more fully understood when discussed and observed in the field. Tests for establishing the age of glacial till leave a greater impression on the student when conducted in the field rather than discussed in the classroom. State parks are abundant in natural beauty and geological features. The LaSalle-Ottwa area field trip includes stops at Buffalo Rock, Starved Rock, and Mathiesson State Park. Bedrock exposed in these parks represent thousands of years of geological history. Such features as canyons and waterfalls developed by stream erosion, anticlines, synclines and unconformities are portrayed as well here as any place in Illinois. Limestone quarries found in the area afford the student an opportunity to collect and understand the importance of fossils. A great deal of satisfaction can come to both teacher and students when field work for the student begins to form a more complete picture of the story of geology. The following paper is a detailed discussion of field trips in the Mendota area.