Exploring Earth Science

by Estera Wieja '04

All students, regardless of their major or aspiration, usually love to spend time outside of the classroom. It's even better if the outdoor activity is part of class and compliments student learning.

Ed Lulofs, Ph.D., teaches Earth Science at APU and organizes several field trips as a part of class lab times. "Earth Science is very much an outdoor type of class. Students need to get a picture of what we are studying in order to relate to the subject," said Lulofs.

At the beginning of the fall semester, the class enjoyed a trip to Long Beach, where they boarded a boat to learn oceanography first-hand. Oceanography is the study of aspects of water, the ocean floor, and the life in the water. Students put their studies to the test, geting their hands dirty as they measured the water's temperature, salinity, and air humidity in specific locations.

The second trip in November focuses on geology, the study of rocks. The class hiked up Garcia Trail in Azusa to look for specific kinds of rocks to discuss their origin and characteristics. Lulofs enjoyed talking with students about the rocks and was pleased to see students interested in what they were learning.

Students in the class are anticipating the final trip of the semester, a visit to the San Andreas Mountains to learn about Earth tectonics. "There is so much to learn and so much to see," said Lulofs. "Students usually prefer the oceanography trip, but this one is definitely my favorite."