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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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Observations and Measurements in Geology part of 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.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Relative Dating on Earth and Mars part of Activities
Students apply principles of relative dating to a cross-section, then to the surface of Mars.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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To Teach is to Learn: Final Project in Envronmental or Intro Geology part of Activities
This assignment asks students to create their own geological educational activity or demonstration (and corresponding write-up) which all students then present/enact during a conference-style presentation session ...

Earth and Mars Core Sampling part of Activities
The activity focuses on sedimentology and core sampling here on Earth and makes comparisons with core samples from Mars to determine the composition of the material underneath the surface.

Incomprehensibly Small and Incomprehensibly Large part of Activities
Students are asked to consider the length scales of the universe, from smallest to largest. Using a logarithmic scale in cm units, various distances are resolved ranging from the smallest meaningful length in ...

Book Review of a Popular Science Book part of Activities
Students select a popular science book to read and then write a book review and give a short oral book review to their classmates.

Homework assignments for Intro Geology part of Activities
These homework assignments consist of vocabulary and questions used as the basis for classroom discussion, guided reading, and as the basis for exams. Testing on these assignments rewards students for work already ...

Proposing Questions for the Upcoming Midterm Exam part of Activities
This in-class activity involves groups of 2-3 students who review assigned sections of course material to generate exam questions (including answers), in one of several assigned formats. They then trade results and ...

Short Geology Research Paper part of Activities
Students are assigned to take a topic and research it in some depth, beyond the discussion in the class or in the book. The paper is 4-6 typed pages in length. Suggested topics include geologic hazards, geologic ...

Observing Streams & Rivers in Google Earth part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
Students are asked to observe fluvial features on both Earth and Mars in satellite images via Google Earth (as well as online panoramas) and explore processes of erosion and deposition and the relationship of ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Formation of the solar system part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
This assignment or demonstration works really well for me in describing the formation of the solar system, the shapes and changes in planetary orbits, and introduces Milankovitch cycles.

JiTT - Life on the Moon and Mars part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) Based on "Microbial Colony in US..." article, what are Archaea? 2) From the same article, which of the following is NOT evidence to support life on Mars? a) Mars' subsurface groundwater system b) ...

Sun Path: Interactive On-line Mac or PC part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Mathematical and Statistical Models:Mathematical and Statistical Models Examples
Students use SunPath in the yearly mode to investigate seasonal changes in sunrise, sunset, length of day and sun altitude at their own latitude. JAVA activity for Mac or PC. -

Phases of the Moon part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lecture Demonstrations:Examples
This exercise has students use a simple physical model of the Earth, sun, and moon to understand why the moon changes phases from the perspective of Earthly observers. -

Analytical and Numerical Insight into Lava Flows and Cinder Cones on Earth, Mars and Venus part of Cutting Edge:Discoveries from Mars:Activities
This three part exercise introduces students to comparative planetary geology using volcanology as the subject and both analytical and (for visualization of cone-building processes) numerical methods. Material ...

Estimating Discharge from Ares Vallis Using Pathfinder Images and MOLA Topography part of Cutting Edge:Discoveries from Mars:Activities
Students use Pathfinder lander images and MOLA topography, in combination with tools including a Hjulstrom diagram, ternary plot and a simple Manning equation, to estimate the discharge through Ares Vallis on Mars ...

Using Lava Flows & Volcanic Structures on Mars to Introduce the Concept of Relative Dating in Introductory Courses part of Cutting Edge:Discoveries from Mars:Activities
To compare bodies of rocks in the same region and determine the sequence of events that led to the formation of these rocks, geologists use a few simple rules of observation to help determine the relative ages of ...

Did it Rain on Mars? Analysis of Valley Networks on Mars in an Intro Geo Course part of Cutting Edge:Discoveries from Mars:Activities
Students investigate the question of whether it might have rained on Mars by doing an activity based on an article by Hynek and Phillips (2003). Students do a simple drainage basin analysis based on Hynek and ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Mars Hydrologic Environments part of Cutting Edge:Discoveries from Mars:Activities
This activity examines the nature of streams and basins at three locations on Mars. Originally meant for users with access to ArcGIS, the exercise can also be used in introductory geology courses using images ...

Impact Craters and Water on Mars part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Undergraduate Research:Examples
Students explore for water on Mars using impact crater morphology. During this lab, students: learn to use the equation writing and graphing capabilities in Microsoft Excel, thendevelop and apply an impact crater depth-diameter relationship in an effort to constrain the depth to a possible water-rich layer beneath one or more portions of the surface of Mars!

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