Finals week is here and I don’t have any finals, yay! Well, the final for my only class this semester involved a take-home portion where we wrote our own test questions and answers, and then a portion at The Corner Room where we drank mimosas, had a great discussion, and I ate chocolate chip pancakes. It was most likely my last final ever, so I think that’s a pretty good note to go out on :)
The end of the semester also meant I turned in my Geosc 001 lab grades yesterday. I’m very satisfied with the grades… the average is about a 90, which I think is good because the class is NOT supposed to be hard and I think overall most people did a great job. And the last week of lab went really well! I was a little apprehensive because it was a tough lab and to be honest, I thought a lot more people would complain about it (don’t worry, some did, all is well with the college psyche). We laid out a bunch of rock samples all over the classroom along with some pieces of masking tape indicating contacts between formations or strike and dip of beds. The students went around identifying and “mapping” the different formations, and at the end they had to draw a map and cross-section (I never did anything like this in undergrad but apparently it’s kind of a common thing?).
It was funny, because for the quiz we do at the beginning of lab every week (to encourage them to actually read it over in advance… sort of works) I made two of the questions freebies that just asked what their favorite and least favorite labs of the semester were and why, and after the last lab I had a few people say “I wish I could take the quiz again so I could say this was my favorite lab!” and a few others say, “I wish I could take the quiz again so I could say this was my LEAST favorite lab!” Ha. I think the people who didn’t like it didn’t really get it and thought it was tricky and tedious, but the people who liked it did because it really “clicked” for them and it was a fun thing to figure out (a “geo-puzzle” as my undergrad research advisor would say).
I thought it was neat because it really tied together things we’d done throughout the semester, like identifying different rock types and structures–this lab was originally on the schedule for earlier in the semester but my co-TA Ashlee, who has taught this class before, suggested we switch it to the end for this very reason, and I’m REALLY glad we did because I’m not sure it would have worked out very well otherwise.
I had a bunch of students tell me they enjoyed the class (yay!) and a couple freshman even told me they were considering majoring in geosciences now… double yay! All in all, I think the semester went well. I would actually love to TA this class again next semester, because there are a bunch of things I want to tweak… but more on that in a future post!