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Teaching Activities

This collection contains activities submitted by workshop participants as well as activities from other Cutting Edge and Teach the Earth projects related to the Deep Earth.




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Order It Up! part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
A think-pair-share activity which involves putting solar system bodies in order based on various statistics: escape velocity, distance from the sun, mass, etc. -

Density of the Earth - How to Solve It part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This module addresses the real problem of determining the density of the Earth and invites the student to figure out how to solve the problem.

The Floating Lithosphere - Isostasy part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are asked to numerically and then analytically determine the relations governing the depth of compensation.

The Earth's Shells - Thicknesses and Densities part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This module explores the combination of densities and shell thicknesses that produce an aggregate density of the Earth of 5.5 g/cm3.

Using Field Observations and Field Experiences to Teach GeoscienceAn Illustrated Community Discussion part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Field Experiences:Posters
This course enhances science literacy by emphasizing the repeated practice of making observations, posing questions & developing hypotheses around a narrowly focused aspect of Minnesota Geology. Students ...

Question of the Day: The Structure of the Earth part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Question of the Day
On the cross-section diagram below, label: Crust. Mantle. Lithosphere. Asthenosphere. The depth to the boundaries between each of the above specified layers. The direction of lithospheric motion. Where you would ...

Question of the Day: Plate Boundary Characteristics part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Question of the Day
What kind of plate tectonic process or boundary would you expect if you find a seafloor region with: 1. A long, narrow linear or gently curving deep valley, earthquakes to depths of several hundred km, and ...

Question of the Day: Making a Scientific Argument part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Question of the Day
A scientific argument must persuade the reader that the data you present, and your arguments are strong enough, to support your theory, model, or proposed action. The effective writer will make it easy for the ...

Gallery Walk Questions about Volcanism part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Gallery Walks:Examples
created by Mark Francek, Central Michigan University The following are potential questions that could be used in a gallery walk activity about volcanism. The questions are organized according to the cognitive ...

Driving Through Geologic Time - An analogy part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
An analogy of the Earth's history to a cross-country drive.

Field Guide to the Mountain View and West Fork Areas, Stillwater Complex, Montana part of Integrating Research and Education:Montana-Yellowstone Geologic Field Guide Database:MT Field Guides
The Mountain View area of the Stillwater Complex, which is exposed on the west side of the Stillwater River valley, contains a well exposed, easily accessible section through the Ultramafic series. In this area the ultramafic cumulates have, for the most part, escaped the serpentinization common in other parts of the complex. The Basal series rocks and the lowermost ultramafic cumulates, however, have suffereed extensive alteration. The hornfels and the sill/dike complex are reasonably fresh and well exposed in the Verdigris Creek area, the site of intensive exploration for Cu/Ni sulfides. The Banded series rocks are well exposed along the mine road leading to the abandoned Mouat chromite mine, although only Lower Banded series cumulates are present in this area.

Field Guide to an Archean Transect, Eastern Beartooth Mountains, Montana-Wyoming part of Integrating Research and Education:Montana-Yellowstone Geologic Field Guide Database:MT Field Guides
The eastern Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming contain a record of crustal evolution that spans almost 1000 Ma and culminates in a major episode of crustal growth 2700-2800 Ma. The earlier record is sparse and complex as a result of extensive magmatism and intense metamorphism associated with Late Archean activity. In general, however, it appears that continental material was present in this area by roughly 3600 Ma, and that a stable continental shelf accumulated quartzites, iron-formation, and lesser amounts of pelitic to psammitic units interspersed with small volumes of mafic to silicic volcanic rocks. This cycle of accumulation was apparently terminated by an episode of granulite facies metamorphism 3300-3400 Ma, perhaps as a result of continent-continent collision....About 2800-2900 Ma, a second major cycle of crustal growth began that bears some resemblance to those associated with modern continent-ocean subduction zones....The first igneous rocks produced during this cycle were andesitic or dioritic rocks, both coarse and fine grained, that were subsequently metamorphosed to amphibolite facies....This interval is restricted by the presence of a granodioritic series (Long Lake granodiorite) that was intruded late in the kinematic cycle... (2779 Ma)...and marks the lower limit for the last major episode of regional metamorphism. The last and most volumetrically important rock produced during the cycle was the Long Lake granite. This unit composes approximately 80-90% of the eastern portion of the range and engulfs all older rock types. It appears to have been intruded about 2740 Ma....This excursion will attempt to view the evidence of these two major cycles in four main stops: (1) Hellroaring Plateau, (2) Lower Quad Creek, (3) Upper Quad Creek, and (4) Long Lake. Late Archean mafic dikes (at Beartooth Lake) will also be examined.

Heart Mountain Detachment Fault and Clastic Dikes of Fault Breccia, and Heart Mountain Break-Away Fault, Wyoming and Montana part of Integrating Research and Education:Montana-Yellowstone Geologic Field Guide Database:MT Field Guides
This field guide describes the geology of two sites near Silver Gate, MT (near Cooke City) where different features related to the Heart Mountain detachment are displayed. At the first site, several features pertaining to the origin of the Heart Mountain detachment fault can be examined, including: (1) severely deformed upper plate rocks in contact with undeformed lower plate rocks; (2) the character and composition of the fault breccia; (3) contacts of volcanic rocks with upper plate blocks and the Heart Mountain fault; and (4) dikes of carbonate fault-breccia injected into both upper plate blocks and overlying volcanic rocks. The second site is an exposure of the Heart Mountain break-away fault.

Global Phosphorus Cycle part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students create and modify a STELLA model of the global phosphorus cycle to test a number of scenarios.

Presenting the Geologic Timescale part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
This project has students model the geologic timescale using distance as a metaphor for time. Students give presentions spaced at distances which represent how far apart in time the events occurred. -

Plate Tectonics writing assignment suitable for Calibrated Peer Review part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Peer Review:Examples
This is an example of a writing assignment focussed on the use of data to support the theory of plate tectonics. -

Modeling the interior of the Earth using Seismic Waves part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use a variety of tools to explore the interior of the Earth in this inquiry activity.

GEO-Logic: Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are asked to match up lecturers with what day and time they teach, and how many students they have based on clues given from several different perspectives. In the second part of the activity, students are asked to learn more about the historic figures mentioned in the activity by doing reading and web research.

Marine Environmental Geology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Service Learning:Examples
This course is an introduction to the aspects of marine geology and oceanography that affect the environment and marine resources. Service-learning is an essential component of how students learn about the earth. We deliver part of the content of this course by arranging for students to solve a problem with a local community partner.

Measuring specific gravity to answer questions about subduction. part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Use a quadruple beam balance to measure the specific gravity of the minerals and rocks that are common in oceanic and continental lithosphere. The results of the calculations are tied to numerous concepts described in previous lectures.



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