“Service learning has proven an invaluable resource for improving student learning. It’s exciting to see students fully engaged in content-driven activities as they discover that learning can be more than reading books and taking tests.”
In spring 2009, students in Dr. Teasdale’s Volcanology class developed hands-on activities for 3rd grade class fieldtrips to the Sutter Buttes volcanic domes. CSU Chico undergraduates applied course content to develop activities, and then led children in those activities during the fieldtrip. Chico students successfully addressed an array of questions from the children, deepening everyone’s understanding of dome volcanoes. Using peanut butter and syrup, Chico students demonstrated magma properties required to form domes versus magmas that form fluid, basaltic lavas like those found in Hawaii. Chico students also used rock samples to represent the Sutter Buttes geology for children to understand those variations. The third grade teachers reported that their students learned more about earth processes and the Sutter Buttes. Additionally, Chico students had the opportunity to serve as mentors to these third grade children from a rural school, encouraging their interests in science and going to college.
Dr. Teasdale explains how service learning has impacted her students: “Service learning has been a demonstrably positive experience for student learning. Based on projects with introductory students and Geology majors, I am inspired to continue to include service learning in my classes. Students learn content, develop methods to best convey information to their audience, prepare for questions, and communicate succinctly and accurately. In addition to providing informative, fun opportunities for public audiences, students become role models for children, and are positive representatives of the capabilities of university students in STEM disciplines.”