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Teaching Introductory Geoscience Courses in the 21st Century
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Classification of Igneous Rocks

Louis Bartek
,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Summary

This is a Think-Pair-Share activity in which I show class photos of a range of igneous rocks in terms of composition and texture. After they complete the activity I fill in the voids in their knowledge with lecture on igneous rock textures and composition are related to tectonic setting and cooling history.

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Context

Audience

Introductory Physical Geology course for non-majors

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must know introductory level mineralogy and the link between colors of rocks and igneous mineralogy as well as being able to identify igneous rock textures

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a stand-alone exercise, one of many that I do in class to try to get the students to become engaged with the topics we cover in class. Students should have completed assigned reading related to the topic before class.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Understand the links between igneous textures and compositions and the processes responsible for them.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

I am hoping that the students will use tools related to analyzing data and formulating hypotheses.

Other skills goals for this activity

To complete this activity successfully students have to work in groups and they have to orally articulate their ideas to the class.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a Think-Pair-Share activity in which I show class photos of a range of igneous rocks in terms of composition and texture. I ask them to individually examine the texture and color of the rocks and decide how they might come up with a classification for the rocks. I also ask them to develop hypotheses about how the composition of the rocks may be related to tectonic settings and how the textures may be related to cooling history. After they do this individually I then have them partner with another student and they discuss their ideas. I then call upon different groups of students to address components of the topic. After they complete the activity I fill in the voids in their knowledge with lecture on igneous rock textures and composition are related to tectonic setting and cooling history.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I have each student turn in their individual and group notes that they wrote about their ideas on classification and hypotheses.

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