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Activities for Introductory Geoscience

Here you will find a wide range of activities for teaching introductory geoscience courses. you can refine your search by selecting the topic or resource type, or by typing in search terms into the search box in the box below.

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Where is that chunk of crust going? part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
I introduce students to GPS, frames of reference, and the permanent GPS stations in the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) in class, and obtain near-real-time data for two stations from UNAVCO. We use ...

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Rock cycle in chocolate lab part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This lab activity simulates the rock cycle with a piece of chocolate instead of actual rock. Students melt, crystallize, erode, lithify and metamorphose a single small block of chocolate. Along the way students ...

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Downloading Earthquake Data from the USGS Earthquake Hazards Site for Anywhere in the World and Studying it Using ArcGIS part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students download earthquake data from the USGS Earthquake Hazards website and plot and anlyze the earthquakes using ArcMap and ArcScene.

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Using ArcGIS to Study the New Lakes in the Toshka Basin in Egypt and Evaluate Egypt's New Valley Project part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
In this assignment, students use ArcGIS to analyze the new lakes that have formed in the Toshka Depression, Egypt as a result of overflow from Lake Nasser and use their analyses to evaluate the wisdom of the plan ...

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Hometown Geology part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This is an extra credit assignment for students to learn details about the geology of their hometown.

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Observations and Measurements in Geology part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise gives students an introduction to topics they will encounter throughout the semester, and future course work. It covers plate tectonics, weathering, and basic rock descriptions.

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Computerized Field Trip Preview of the Berkshire Mountains part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
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 ...

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Emergent Models in Google Earth part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This is one sample of a set of emergent models we are developing for use with Google Earth. Students use the Google Earth time-slider to lift 3D models of the subsurface into view. They can substitute their own ...

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Florida River Project: Sedimentary and metamorphic rocks lab part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This fairly traditional rocks-in-boxes lab has been incorporated into a semester-long project. At the end of the lab, students apply their rock-identification skills to rocks from their study area.

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Porosity and Permeability part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students explore the properties of porosity and permeability using everyday items and geological materials. This activity has several components to appeal to different learning styles.

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The Scientific Method part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This assignment is designed to introduce the students to the idea and process of the scientific method. They are led to recognize that much of their own thinking is through the Scientific Method.

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Testing the Fixed-hotspot-moving-plate model part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students examine hot spot tracks, magnetic inclination data, and coral data from the Hawaii-Emperor Seamount Chain to test the hypothesis that hotspots are fixed. Most students have learned somewhere that hotspots ...

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Lost At Sea part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students work as teams to "sail" around the North Atlantic using their knowledge of latitude, longitude, time, winds, and ocean currents to complete the voyage.

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Topographic Maps part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise is a lab exercise to introduce elevation, landforms, and topographic maps to Introductory-level students. It is used to convey the principles of land variability and the processes that shape the ...

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Relative Age-dating -- Discovery of Important Stratigraphic Principles part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students don't have to be passively taught the important principles geologists use to do relative age-dating of rocks and geologic events. By careful analysis and critical thinking about photos and ...

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Heat Transport in the Climate System part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This is an introductory activity designed for small groups in a single 50 minute class period. The exercise stresses interpretation of data from a simple graph, and helps students to integrate information on heat ...

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Learning Assessment #5 - Geologic Time (2011) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of the principles of relative age, absolute age and numerical age bracketing.

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Physical Geology: Idaho Field Trip part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Optional field trip to local sites of geologic interest/relevance.

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Spring Break-Weathering Homework part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This short assignment gets students thinking about and looking for geology while on spring break. Students are asked to photograph a feature of weathering and they must be in the picture. Students must then do a ...

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Learning Assessment #3 - Igneous & Sedimentary Rocks (2011) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of igneous and sedimentary rocks and processes.

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