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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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Discovering Plate Boundaries part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Students work collaboratively using data maps to discover plate tectonic boundary processes. Data sets used are earthquakes, volcanos, seafloor age, and topography. The authors below have submitted variations of ...

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Scientific debate: Mantle plumes part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
A structured format for a debate of the mantle plume hypothesis and alternative hypotheses with supporting materials.

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Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
In this exercise, students use whole-rock major- and trace-element compositions of igneous rocks from a variety of tectonic settings and locations to explore the importance of plate setting in determining magma ...

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A tour of the Mariana Subduction System part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
This lesson presents a brief tour of the Mariana subduction system, an active continental margin in the west Pacific.

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What Goes into Making Volcanic Arc Magmas, and How Do We Know It? part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
This activity is a directed reading exercise focused on papers that have been key to our understanding of the major source contributors to subduction zone volcanic rocks.

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A Geologic Safari of the East African Rift and the Newark Basin: Why these areas are more alike than you know part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
This activity explores the similarity and differences between the Newark Rift Basin and East African Rift.

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The Boxing Day Tsunami part of Cutting Edge:Enhance Your Teaching:Teaching Methods:Teaching with Google Earth:Examples
Undergraduate students map data from the National Geophysical Data Center and the United States Geological Survey on Google Earth and study visualizations in order to explore the causes and effects of the Tsunami ...

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How do Faults Slip: Earthquakes versus Episodic Tremor and Slip part of Activities
A comparison of earthquakes and episodic tremor and slip using GPS and seismic data to illustrate how faults slip.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Identifying Plate Tectonic Boundaries for a Virtual Ocean Basin part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students observe an ocean basin and two continental margins to identify possible plate boundaries and predict where earthquakes and volcanoes would occur. They also draw the boundaries in cross section.

Mercalli Earthquake Activity part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
A jigsaw process that allows students to analyze first person descriptions of earthquakes and assess several earthquake features.

Plate Motions part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students are asked to removed the last 40 Ma of ocean crust from an isochron map and then put the plates back together. This exercise helps students see that plates and plate boundaries canNOT be stationary through ...

Volcanoes around the Globe (Beta test copy) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Undergraduate non-majors use the Arcview geographic information system (GIS) to explore volcanic hazards and the geochemistry of volcanic rocks. Students explore geochemical data from the GEOROC global database and ...

Hot spot volcanism in western North America part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students use real data on age of volcanism and ash thickness distribution to better understand hot spot volcanic activity.

Partitioning of thrust and strike/slip faulting in oblique subduction part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Oblique subduction results in distinct sets of faults with either just thrust or mainly strike/slip motion and that back-arc thrust belts show little oblique strain compared to forearc areas.

A paleobiogeography exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this exercise, students are guided through a quantitative comparison of taxonomically distinct Jurassic Ammonite faunas from five different accreted terranes in western North America, and a similar evaluation of ...

A Volcanic Record Through Time part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
This is a lecture segment that can be used or adapted for use in an undergraduate geoscience class. The goal of the lecture is to familiarize students with the concept of volcanic change through time at time scale commensurate to plate tectonic evolution.

Metamorphism and Continental Collision part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This is an exercise designed to help students link metamorphism and other geologic processes in context of the plate tectonic theory.

Discovering Plate Boundaries part of Cutting Edge:Urban Geology:Activities
Discovering Plate Boundaries is a classroom activity designed to introduce students to the process of observing and classifying data, in addition to the fundamentals of plate tectonics.

Metropolitan Museum of Art: Earth Materials and Ancient Cultures part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students investigate properties of earth materials through the lens of art and archeology. It allows ties to other required core curriculum courses (particularly classics and art history), and integrates the use of ...

Hotspot Lesson: Hotspot Theory and Plate Velocities part of ERESE:ERESE Activities
This activity provides the students with a data set of ages of some of the Hawaiian Volcanoes and seamounts and how far they are from the active volcanism (considered to be the location of the hotspot). By plotting the data on a graph and fitting the data with a line of best fit, the plate velocity can be estimated by taking the slope of the line.



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