“Tell me and I forget

Teach me and I remember

Involve me and I learn”

- Benjamin Franklin -

As science teachers, we face the growing challenge of exciting and engaging students about the wonders of the natural sciences. This challenge needs to be addressed depending on the diversity of students that we have in the classroom. For undergraduate students, I try to involve them in the learning process by approaching lectures as a conversation where we discuss science topics. Student participation in lectures is fundamental in their understanding of new and sometimes complicated concepts. Developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills is also critical in these modern days. I approach this aspect of teaching by designing problems that can be applied to everyday life situations and by discussing current articles published in peer-reviewed journals. For undergraduate students interested in following a career in Geology, or any career in science, involvement in research is very important. This involvement allows the students to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom and to develop their interest in research and passion for science. For graduate students, the topics are more advanced but the challenges remain the same. My approach, in this case, is to expand their horizons and provide knowledge of different tools that might help them solve problems in their particular research and future professional work.


GL 3101 Physical Geology (Geología General)

This is the very first course for Geology undergraduate students at the University of Chile. In this course, students learn about the geologic processes that shape the surface of the Earth. The course provides an overview of plate tectonics, minerals, the rock cycle and rock types, volcanoes, weathering and erosion, structural geology, geologic time, water resources, natural hazards, climate change, mineral resources and the origin of the Solar System and Earth.    

GL 4401 Introduction to Ore Deposits

(Introducción a Yacimientos Minerales)

The course provides a general overview of the different tools that geologists use to study the formation of ore deposits followed by a review of the main types of metallic ore deposits with a special emphasis on mineral deposits of Chile.  The course covers the origin and transport of metals, mineral stability, hydrothermal alteration, fluid inclusions, stable and radiogenic isotopes applied to mineral deposits. In addition, the following ore deposit types are discussed: Porphyry Cu-Mo-Au, Epithermal Au-Ag, IOCG, IOA, Skarns, Stratabound Cu(-Ag), Sedimentary-hosted, Magmatic deposits.    

Mandatory laboratory sessions emphasize hand-specimen characterization of ore and alteration minerals.  

GL 6301 Economic Geology (Geología Económica)

This is a mandatory, upper-level, field-based course for geologists at the University of Chile. The course includes visits to different ore deposits and mining operations which provide students with a better understanding of the mining business and of ore deposit models. In addition, students carry out hand sample and drill-core descriptions and mapping of ore deposits.  

GL 6504 Introduction to Isotope Geology 

(Introducción a la Geología Isotópica)

This is a graduate and advanced undergraduate level course that focuses on the fundamentals and applications of radiogenic and stable isotopes. The course covers basic concepts of isotope systematics and mass spectrometry followed by a detailed discussion on the Rb-Sr, Sm-Nd, U-Th-Pb, Re-Os and K-Ar isotopic systems. Traditional (O, H, S) and non-traditional (Cu, Mo, Fe, Ag) stable isotopes are also addressed.      

© 2020 by Fernando Barra