On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty

Exemplary Teaching Activities

Beginning in 2011, On the Cutting Edge began a process to review the extensive collection of activities submitted by workshop participants and members of the geoscience community. The Review Processes page illuminates the details of the peer review process, and the activities are scored on 5 elements: scientific veracity; alignment of goals, activity, and assessment; pedagogical effectiveness; robustness; and completeness of the ActivitySheet. The activities that score very highly in these areas become part of the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection and are featured below. To date, activities in the mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, environmental geology, structural geology, geophysics, and tectonics areas have been reviewed so the exemplary collection is composed of activities from these topics. As the review of additional areas is completed, exemplary activities from the rest of the collection will be included here.


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showing only Geoscience > Geology Show all Subject: Geoscience

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Investigating Earthquakes: GIS Mapping and Analysis (College Level) part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with GIS:Examples
Brian Welch
This is a college-level adaptation of a chapter from the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The students download global quake data over a time range and use GIS to interpret the tectonic context. -

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Geologic Puzzles: Morrison Formation part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
Images of faulted strata, tilted turbidites, and beach rocks bring the field into the classroom, giving students practice in doing what geoscientists do. These images are examples of geologic puzzles. -

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Learning pseudosections with Perplex part of Petrology:Teaching Examples
Dave Hirsch, Western Washington University
This is a set of five assignments that build upon each other to teach students how to use Perplex to make pseudosections.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Review for interdisiplinary science course (stream ecology, watersheds) part of Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Cailin Huyck Orr, Washington State University- Pullman
This is a large-scale participatory activity used to prompt students to review what they have learned and to think actively and cooperatively about the connections between the systems we have discussed prior to the ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Mid-level spreadsheeting and complex modeling of real-world scarp evolution part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
William Locke, Montana State University-Bozeman
This exercise is a second or familiarization exercise in spreadsheeting, but is also a mathematical model for slope evolution. It uses the concept of "erosivity" (generally, the relative ratio of driving and resisting forces) and slope angle to reshape an initial topography. Finally, it asks the students themselves to come up with a real-world situation worth modeling.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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An Assessment of Hillslope Stability Using the Factor of Safety part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Laura Moore, Oberlin College
In this homework assignment students are asked to consider the balance of forces on a hill slope using the Factor of Safety.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Plate Tectonics as Expressed in Geological Landforms and Events part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Jeff Ryan
This activity seeks to have students analyze global data sets on earthquake and volcano distributions toward identifying major plate boundary types in different regions on the Earth. A secondary objective is to familiarize students with two publicly available resources for viewing and manipulating geologically-relevant geospatial data: Google Earth(TM) and GeoMapApp.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Introduction to Mineral Identification part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
The exercise uses an inquiry-based approached to overcome the fear of tackling mineral identification. Few instructions are given and students discover for themselves how to approach identification.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Fluvial and Alluvial Sedimentology Incorporating Google Earth part of Sedimentary Geology:Activities
Elizabeth Cassel, Franklin and Marshall College
A lab activity for an undergraduate sedimentary geology course focused on fluvial and alluvial sedimentology, incorporating Google Earth.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Coastal Erosion Online Discussion part of Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
Sheila Roberts, Bowling Green State University-Main Campus
This assignment is designed to get students to see the application of geology to a local problem, coastal erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline. I think the strength of this assignment is that many of the students ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.

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