This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Jul 11, 2011
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
Part A, they study the layered structure, the texture of different layers, the color (presence of sediment?), initially using basic sketching. Then they decide what aspects are worth measuring in further detail (such as thickness of layers, hardness of layer, density of layers, size of crystals) and come up with a plan.
Part B, they are allowed to begin making their measurements and they are given guiding questions, such as what are the errors in these measurements? How many measurements is sufficient to describe the characteristic you are describing?
Part C is primarily brainstorming ideas and hypotheses among their group, and they can return inside if they choose. They are asked consider the role that snow plays on the landscape. How does the snow affect the ground underneath it? Would that role be different at the coldest part of winter than during the spring melt? Does snow affect the air above it? How might snow play a role in the large climate system?
Oral Synthesis: after completing Part C, each group is given a different overarching question, they must use what they have learned and their ideas to give a 4-5 minute oral synthesis to the class.
This activity is meant to give them new insights into a common geologic material and to recognize the linkages between the atmosphere above the ground and the geology and ecosystem below.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment: Student Handouts for Discovering Snow Lab (Acrobat (PDF) 94kB Jun1 11)
- Instructors Notes: Instructor Noes for Discovering Snow (Acrobat (PDF) 81kB Jun1 11)