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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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Using ArcGIS to Investigate the Connection between Bedrock Geology and the Development of Ancient Egyptian Civilization part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
In this assignment, students use ArcGIS (DEMs plus georeferenced geologic maps) to analyze the influence of bedrock geology on the development and extent of Ancient Egypt.

Using eJournal writing assignments to assess learning and classroom community part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
About every two weeks I ask each student in my introductory course to write brief responses to questions I pose to them. They write these in an e-Journal, a part of the blog function of BlackBoard. My laboratory ...

Warm-up part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
These are questions of many types I assign on reading. They are due before class begins.

Topographic Maps: Integrated Florida River project part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This fairly traditional topographic maps lab uses local maps as examples. It is intended to prepare students for a group research project later in the semester.

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.

Plate Motions part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students are asked to removed the last 40 Ma of ocean crust from an isochron map and then put the plates back together. This exercise helps students see that plates and plate boundaries canNOT be stationary through ...

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 ...

Determining the 100-year floodplain of the Chippewa River part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
In this in-class activity recurrence intervals are calculated for ten flooding events on the Chippewa River near Eau Claire Wisconsin. The students use 1:24000 topographic maps to determine the extent of the ...

Carousel part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
The "carousel" is a classroom activity I use to assess how well students have absorbed the last week's material and/or how well prepared they are for an upcoming exam.

Using the local topo maps 'Louisville East and West Quads' part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This assignment is designed to test if the students have understood the past two preparatory assignments in introducing topographic maps. After two 'pre-lab' exercises and readings in what a topographic ...

Boulder ID part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Groups of students participate in identification of decorative boulder fields used as landscaping. Groups try to identify rock type and challenge the identifications of other groups.

Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses: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 ...

Volcanoes around the Globe (Beta test copy) part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Undergraduate non-majors use the Arcview geographic information system (GIS) to explore volcanic hazards and the geochemistry of volcanic rocks. Students explore geochemical data from the GEOROC global database and ...

Analyzing Real-Time and Historical Wave and Sea Surface Data part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students gather and analyze real-time and historical wave height, and sea surface temperature data with emphasis on U.S. west coast and Southern California locations. Analysis of the wave height data allows ...

To Teach is to Learn: Final Project in Envronmental or Intro Geology part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses: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 ...

Hot spot volcanism in western North America part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students use real data on age of volcanism and ash thickness distribution to better understand hot spot volcanic activity.

Simple Landslide Demo part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Demonstration of control of surface friction on slope stability. Simple analogue model uses a wooden board (the slope), a large rock (the landslide), and transparency and rough sand paper. Students anticipate how ...

Pop Bottle Hydrograph part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Create hydrograph and explore changes in physical parameters on form of hydrograph. Set up is easy: water is sprinkled into a model watershed (sand in pop bottle) and allowed to dribble onto cheap digital scale. ...

Plotting Florida River Data Using Excel part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise is used to prepare students to analyze data they will collect during their group project. It familiarizes students with previously collected data, and builds skills graphing and interpreting data.