A FIELD-BASED EXPLORATORY ACTIVITY TO INTRODUCE SEDIMENTARY ROCKS
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the 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: Nov 5, 2004
2. sedimentary rock types, especially clastic rocks
2. sketching outcrops
Higher Order Thinking Skills:
teacher professional development (K-5)
Role of Activity in a Course:
Data, Tools and LogisticsRequired Tools:
I would also like to see that their own perception of their ability to learn and do science has increased. Through making repeated abservations and drawing conclusions based on them, they clearly gain confidence in their abilities.
Anecdotally, students also really enjoy this lab. They particularly like learning something new about a place they are already familiar with because it is nearby.
In the first stage, students examine sediments in a dry wash. Students describe the sorting, rounding, and composition of grains, and relate these properties to the source, transport, and deposit of the sediment.
In the second stage, the students make similar observations about the Paleocene Ojo Alamo Formation, a fluvial sandstone that forms the canyon walls. Students perform a cobble count, sketch cross-beds and channels in the outcrop, and discover abundant petrified wood within the formation and discuss reasons for its presence. A follow-up discussion in the field helps students use this information to deduce the source, transport, deposit, and additional information about the formation.
I have recently moved from San Juan College to Stanford University and modified the activity to accomodate a larger class size, few rock outcrops, and few non-engineered streams. For the modified version, students went out to four different locations along a hypothetical longitudinal stream profile: the headwaters, where landslides occur, the upper alluvial fan, the lower alluvial fan, and the baylands. Wach group made observations, collected samples, and brought the information back to their discussion section, where they shared information with other people. The TAs then helped the students connect the different sediment types to different rock types.