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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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Measuring the Earth part of Activities
With a colleague at the University of Kansas, we measure the size of the Earth using the method of Eratosthenese. This is handy because the UH and KU campuses are almost directly on a N-S line.

Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods part of Activities
Students use two independent methods to determine relative plate motions across a plate boundary. They find that plate tectonic theory generally holds up but also discover sophisticated detail (e.g. velocities ...

Density, Isostasy, and Topography part of Activities
Two students measure the density of different rock types by first measuring water displacement of the irregular pieces. Details In this activity, students develop an explanation for the bimodal topography of the ...

Plate Tectonics Jigsaw part of Activities
Students participate in a jigsaw activity to learn about types of plate boundaries, becoming an expert in one of five global datasets - earthquakes, volcanoes, seafloor age, topography, and gravity - and then ...

Introduction to Google Earth part of Activities
This assignment is designed as an introductory Google Earth tutorial on navigation; layers and featured content; and the creation and modification of Placemarks, Paths, and Polygons. The assignment is intended as a ...

Darwin and the Galapagos Islands part of Activities
In this assignment the students read the Chapter 17 "Galapagos Archipelago" from The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin, and they examine a website about the Galapagos Islands. The students answer two ...

Seafloor Ages Lecture Tutorial part of Activities
Students work on this Lecture Tutorial worksheet on seafloor ages in pairs during lecture. It directly confronts misconceptions students have about the age of the seafloor, and it guides students to more complex ...

The Silicate Structures: Chalkboard Demonstration part of Activities
This assignment is designed to introduce the silicate structures, and their significance to mineral properties, to undergraduate non-science majors in an introductory physical geology course. Magnetic ...

Exploring the Bay Area part of Activities
This assignment is a do-it-yourself field trip. Students are given the opportunity to visit a local geologic feature and learn something about the origins and evolution of that site.

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 ...

Tutorials for Introducing ArcGIS into Introductory Geoscience Courses part of Activities
Three sequential modular exercises introduce geoscience students to the power of GIS and give them experience with the kinds of GIS raster image analysis tasks commonly used by geoscientists. You might also be ...

Virtual Rock Lab part of Activities
Students use a website to identify rocks based on their properties.

Using Google Earth & GIS to Create a Customized Map part of Activities
Students are introduced to cartographic concepts and learn how to use GIS to make a proper map with scale information, location (longitude and latitude), orientation and appropriate title.

Florida River Project: Plotting discharge data part of Activities
This is part of a group of exercises used to prepare students for a group research project on a local river. In this exercise, students plot discharge data from a previous year.

Florida River Project: Measuring discharge, sediment, and water chemistry part of Activities
This data collection lab is part of a semester-long project, monitoring a local river.

Florida River Project: Semester-long group project part of Activities
This is a semester-long group research project that uses a local river to integrate several lab and field activities. The project covers topographic maps, rock and mineral identification, measuring data in the ...

Florida River Project: Minerals in the field part of Activities
This is a field trip that is part of a semester-long research project. In this lab, students visit part of their research site to look at rocks and minerals in the study area.

Wind River Eco-Challenge: A Virtual Excursion Exercise for Introducing Topographic Maps part of Activities
This classroom activity simulates an eco-challenge course in the Wind River Mountains, which are close to our campus. Our goal is that students approach their recreational adventures more prepared than they would ...

Google Earth, Streams, and Glaciers part of Activities
In this assignment, students download Google Earth and use it to investigate some of the fluvial and glacial processes introduced in lecture.

Coastal Management case study part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
After being presented with lecture material on coastal processes and engineering structures, students have small group discussions of a case study on whether a terminal groin should be built on a barrier island on ...