Cutting Edge > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Observing, describing and measuring landscape attributes

Observing, describing and measuring landscape attributes

Leonard Sklar
,
San Francisco 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 22, 2008

Summary

Students work in groups, examining three different representations of earth surface topography: a raised relief map, a topographic map, and stereo pairs of aerial photographs.

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Context

Audience

upper division undergraduate course for geology majors

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

How the activity is situated in the course

First lab of the semester, stand alone exercise

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students work in groups, examining three different representations of earth surface topography: a raised relief map, a topographic map, and stereo pairs of aerial photographs. The class comes together three times during the lab to report on each group's progress and results.

This lab is intended to both clarify and build on students' previous ways of seeing the landscape, and also give them a chance to view the landscape with fresh eyes. One important element of this exercise is to practice separating observation from interpretation. Ideally, observations are objective facts, things other people would see if they followed the same procedure as you did. Interpretations are all the names, explanations and stories we develop as we attempt to make sense of our observations.

Designed for a geomorphology course
Has minimal/no quantitative component
Addresses student fear of quantitative aspect and/or inadequate quantitative skills
Addresses student misconceptions

Determining whether students have met the goals

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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