Computerized Field Trip Preview of the Berkshire Mountains
Christopher D. Condit
University of Massachusetts - Amherst
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 page first made public: Jun 25, 2008
Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications
This is a computer (Windows, Macintosh) based exercise designed to take about two hours. Students use a 5 page short-answer study sheet with the Berkshire Field Trip Map, Guidebook and associated images of the Dynamic Digital Map of New England (DDM-NE) to preview and put field trip stops in context, both spatially (regional and plate tectonic setting) and temporally (outcrop relationship to the geologic history of this part of the Appalachian Mountains). The DDM-NE can be downloaded
and used via the web from anywhere with a reasonably fast internet connection.
To be used about 2/3 the way through a Physical Geology course, or by those who have completed that course. Also ideal for any geologist interested in visiting classic sites giving insights into the geologic history of northwestern Massachusetts, and the development of the eastern margin of Laurentia.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Must be comfortable with basic computer use.
As with many geology field trips, the more geologic tools one has mastered, the more they will get from it. Best used when one has been through the basic plate tectonic, petrologic (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary) and structural geologic components of Physical Geology.
How the activity is situated in the course
This DDM-based preview is to be completed before the 5th field-based lab of our Physical Geology course. This 5th lab is an all-day (8-hour) field trip, and serves as a capstone to this part of the course.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
The goal is to integrate outcrop location with the state geologic map and the various outcrop's position in time and within the broader plate tectonic evolution of the eastern margin of Laruentia.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Part of the intent is to provide a framework for the user so they can look at each outcrop for additional features to those seen in the images.
Other skills goals for this activity
Provide ongoing use of computer to look at geologic information.
Description of the activity/assignment
The intent is to provide a map-based framework, complete with animations showing the geologic evolution of the area to be visited, so that students can then better appreciate the observations made at the various stops along the way and see how they each relate to the other and the big picture.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Grade the short answer work sheet the students complete by the end of the exercise, to be turned in before the field trip.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips