Cutting Edge > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Weathering and mass wasting

Weathering and mass wasting

Jordan Clayton
,
Georgia State University
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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: May 2, 2008

Summary

This class exercise is an opportunity for students to apply textbook information about weathering and mass wasting to local and nationally-recognized surface features, such as Stone Mountain (GA), Half Dome (CA), and others. It also serves as an introduction to the use of Google Earth as an analytical tool for calculating distances, slopes, and evaluating landforms.

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Context

Audience

Upper-level/graduate course in geomorphology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Basic understanding of weathering processes.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is the first of several exercises. This activity introduces the use of Google Earth, which is used in later exercises as well.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Applying classroom understanding of weathering to real landscapes, developing skills navigating Google Earth, familiarization with recognizable landforms and features in the U.S.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students are asked to critically assess what they are looking at, how it was formed, and why two locations may have different-looking features. This is to test basic background knowledge in weathering and mass wasting.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students are also asked to speculate, or to think about questions for which there may not necessarily be an obvious, or even correct, answer. This is part of a semester-long, ongoing effort to get students to think critically.

Description of the activity/assignment

This class exercise is an opportunity for students to apply textbook information about weathering and mass wasting to local and nationally-recognized surface features, such as Stone Mountain (GA), Half Dome (CA), and others. It also serves as an introduction to the use of Google Earth as an analytical tool for calculating distances, slopes, and evaluating landforms.
Designed for a geomorphology course

Determining whether students have met the goals

The right answer is less important than demonstration that the student was speculating based on geomorphic reasoning. In practical terms, much partial credit is given.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

http://landslides.usgs.gov/learning/nationalmap/index.php

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