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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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'Radioactive' decay of chewing gum part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This activity allows students to see (and feel) the decay of chewing gum as it relates to ½ lives. One or two students chew gum during class and each minute they weigh the gum. At the end of the experiment ...

Classification of Igneous Rocks part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
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 ...

Cause of the Mogul, Nevada, Earthquake Swarm, Spring 2008 part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students examine data from fault- and magma- related earthquakes and determine distinguishing characteristics. They then apply these criteria to determine the cause of the Mogul earthquake sequence (that most of ...

Demonstrating P and S Waves with a Slinky part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
P and S seismic waves can be demonstrated with a slinky. P waves have energy traveling parallel to the direction the wave is moving. S waves have energy traveling perpendicular to the direction the wave is moving.

Tapestry of Time: the Evolution of the North American Continent part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
In this lecture activity, groups of students use the Tapestry of Time map printed by the USGS to create cross sections that illustrate the growth of the North American continent.

Sedimentary Transport part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This activity gets students to compare the relationship between river flow energy and sediment size. The final question requires them to solve a more dynamic problem - one with changing energy levels - a rock ...

Research Podcast Project part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Using tools available in the Moodle course management software package and a range of freely available software, students research, create, record, and peer-evaluate podcasts on a geologic topic of their choosing.

Learning Assessment #8 - Concept Map (2011) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
An end of the term, in-class activity that challenges students to synthesize their understanding of the fundamental concepts taught over the course of the semester - plate tectonics, the rock cycle, geologic time ...

Learning Assessment #6 - Geologic Time (2010) 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 dating.

Learning Assessment #7 - Maps & Structures part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of geological maps and structures (faults and folds).

Learning Assessment #4 - Metamorphic Rocks (2011) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
An in-class activity that tests students' understanding of metamorphic rocks and processes.

Net Radiation and Temperature part of Activities
This assignment helps students think about how net radiation affects surface temperature.

Introduction to County Soil Surveys part of Activities
Students use the Natural Resources Conservation Service's county-level soil survey to answer a series of questions about the soils their campus has been built on.

Soil Physical Properties and Profiles part of Activities
Students describe the color, structure, and hand texture of soil hand samples. Students also describe the profile for two soil cores.

Introduction to Topographic Maps part of Activities
This exercise introduces students to topographic maps and some of the information presented on them. Students must use basic map reading skills as well as algebra to work with map scale, measure distances, and ...

Mineral and Rock Identification part of Activities
Students are provided with a variety of rock and mineral samples and they use the sample properties and tables to accurately identify them.

Soil Field Methods part of Activities
Students collect a soil profile using a bucket auger and then describe the profile in the field.

Stream Hydrology and Morphology part of Activities
Students create and interpret hydrographs, discharge data, and stream cross-sectional and longitudinal profiles.

Stream and River Water Quality part of Activities
Students visit a stream or river and conduct a site description and assess water quality using a variety of test kits and other field equipment.

Glacier Dynamics and Glacial Landforms part of Activities
Students use a computer model to simulate glacier dynamics and navigate to locations in Google Earth to identify glacial landforms and geomorphic processes.