Cutting Edge > Geodesy > Teaching Activities > Google Earth Investigations of Folded and Faulted Landforms

Google Earth Investigations of Folded and Faulted Landforms

Hillary Hamann
,
University of Denver
Author Profile

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.

This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

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: Dec 6, 2011

Summary

This activity utilizes Google Earth (the free downloadable version) to investigate folded and faulted landscapes and to review crustal deformation processes and associated landform features.

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Context

Audience

This course was designed as a lab exercise for an introductory undergraduate course in physical geology or geography, but could be adapted or utilized for an upper level course such as geomorphology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity has been used as a lab exercise in a series and as a stand-alone in-class activity. In my course, Google Earth is introduced in an earlier lab exercise and is used for additional lab exercises including viewing desert, coastal and karst landforms.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

To reinforce concepts and terminology related to crustal deformation processes and landforms

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

To view, visually interact with, and identify real crustal deformation landforms and their greater regional context. This activity asks students to move beyond viewing simple textbook diagrams of crustal deformation processes and landforms to recognizing these elements in real landscapes.

To critically analyze and interpret the processes that formed specific landforms using the visualization tool along with supporting information.

Other skills goals for this activity

To operate the Google Earth geographic visualization program and manipulate a 3-dimensional view of the Earth's land surface.

Description of the activity/assignment

To prepare for this activity, students have been introduced in class and through readings in their textbook to basic crustal deformation processes and landforms including: kinds of stress and strain, surface expressions, and types of faults and folds. Students also have some previous experience navigating in and controlling views in Google Earth. In Lab, students use their personal or lab computers equipped with Google Earth to view a number of specific locations within the United States that have folded or faulted landforms. Each location and landform includes some additional background information and a series of questions that ask the student to 1) review learned knowledge of processes and landforms, 2) identify real topographic expressions of processes and landforms, thus practicing the terminology, and 3) create new understanding of the processes that formed specific landforms. This exercise helps students to move from viewing simple textbook diagrams of crustal deformation processes and landforms to recognizing these elements in real landscape settings.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Student lab exercise answers are graded. Knowledge and understanding of crustal deformation processes and landforms are later evaluated as a part of a class exam.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Google Earth

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