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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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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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Who Polluted Surface and Groundwater in This Place? part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students use water-well data and geology to determine which site caused groundwater and surface-water contamination.

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Earthquake Case Study part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This activity is a multiple case study analysis of different earthquakes that leads to student interpretation of claims, evidence and prediction/recommendations.

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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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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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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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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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A LONG, LONG time ago: geologic timescales part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students compare their pre-conceived impressions of events on the geologic time with the actual positions of these events on a 45.5' geologic timescale.

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Relative Dating on Earth and Mars part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students apply principles of relative dating to a cross-section, then to the surface of Mars.

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Campus Map Scale part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students are given a map of the campus and asked to devise a method to determine the map scale. The method for determining scale is not prescribed, requiring the students to work in small groups to brainstorm a ...

Fun with foam, demonstrating strike and dip in class part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Colorful foam sheets are used in a classroom or lab setting to introduce students to the concept of strike and dip. It is interactive, and the instructor or TA's can quickly see which students are ...

Soil Properties part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
In this activity, students determine soil texture and color using a "texture-by-feel" analysis and Munsell color charts. In addition to these basic tests, students also devise their own soil ...

Earthquake Machine Demonstration part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This classroom activity is a demonstration where students predict what will happen under various conditions. The "Earthquake Machine" shows relationships between stress, strain, friction along the fault ...

Identifying Plate Tectonic Boundaries for a Virtual Ocean Basin part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students observe an ocean basin and two continental margins to identify possible plate boundaries and predict where earthquakes and volcanoes would occur. They also draw the boundaries in cross section.

Mercalli Earthquake Activity part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
A jigsaw process that allows students to analyze first person descriptions of earthquakes and assess several earthquake features.

Earth's Surface Features part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This Lecture Tutorial is designed for students to work on in groups after the students have learned about basic surface features and how they relate to planets in general. The tutorial is designed to help students ...

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