Soil Properties and Geomorphology
University of South Dakota
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
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- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
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This page first made public: May 9, 2008
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Compare soil data to different ages of fluvial terraces. Students enter data into Excel and interpret it themselves.
Undergraduate course in geomorphology
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Soil features, soil development, relative dating, using Excel
How the activity is situated in the course
Stand alone exercise
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Calculate soil properties, graph properties, interpret results.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Analysis of data and interpretation of soil formation
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
To prepare for this exercise, the students have been lectured on soil formation and on a field trip, described a simple soil within loess. Here, the students use data collected from a chronosequence to compare the relative age and amount of soil formation on a series of fluvial terraces. The students are to insert the data into a graphic program and generate specific graphs of soil properties. The students then interpret the amount of soil formation compared to the relative age of the fluvial terraces. Finally, the students assess how the 5 soil forming factors (climate, organisms, relief, parent material, and time) influenced soil formation in this setting.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Determining whether students have met the goals
The students turn in their answers, along with a copy of the graphs that they plotted. I check for accuracy of the graphs (some calculations are required) and for the quality and accuracy of their answers.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips
This assignment is borrowed from other geomorphology lab instructors. I turned it into a homework assignment. The data is from Les McFadden's master's thesis (McFadden, 1978).